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House Republicans try to take out National Labor Relations Board

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Apr. 15, 2013) — House Republican leadership rammed through a bill (H.R. 1120) on Friday that would effectively put the National Labor Relations Board out of business. The NLRB enforces rules established under the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the rights of workers to form unions, bargain collectively and have a voice on the job.

nlrbUnder the bill, the NLRB would not be permitted to issue new decisions, enforce existing decisions, be able to prevent or remedy unfair labor practices, or defend the right of employees to join a union and bargain collectively with employers.

In the end, after much arm-twisting by Republican leadership, the measure squeaked by on a vote of 219-209 with all Democrats and 10 Republicans voting “no.”

Washington State’s delegation voted along strict party lines with Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert all voting for H.R. 1120, and Democrats Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Jim McDermott, Adam Smith and Denny Heck voting against the measure.

“The National Labor Relations Board plays a critical role in addressing disputes for both workers and employers,” Rep. Kilmer said. “By suspending its activities, Congress would allow violations of workers’ rights to go unremedied. This legislation would only create uncertainty in our labor-management system — the opposite of what Congress should be providing at a time when we should be focused on getting this economy moving and improving wages and working conditions.”

Fortunately, this bill will not be taken up by the Senate, but it is symbolic of the right-wing’s anti-worker agenda.

► ALSO today In The Hill — Labor fight one front in GOP war (by Juan Williams) — The NLRB, along with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and appellate courts, is a key target for the GOP’s cynical — but successful — strategy of negating the American people’s decision to twice elect a liberal Democrat as president. Republicans are trying to deny him the control he should rightfully have over who should run government agencies. The NLRB is the focus of Republican efforts to defeat the president’s power because the GOP sees fundraising gold in telling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big corporations that they are preventing  Democrats from giving unions the right to more easily organize.

AFL-CIO Now contributed to this report.

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