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On Thursday, House lawmakers passed a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to be able to sue their employer for damages if their labor rights are violated but rejected a measure that would prevent the possibility of unions from recruiting other illegal immigrants.
“Protecting the Right to Organize” is a completely Democrat-sponsored organization to expand labor protections and grow unions.
Similar to the California Assembly Bill 5, one of the focuses of “Protecting the Right to Organize” is to end worker misclassification. The bill was passed in a 224-194 vote.
“The penalties for violating the [National Labor Relations Act] are weaker than those for violating other labor and employment laws, and workers lack a private right of action to pursue relief on their own,” according to a factsheet from the Committee on Education and Labo. “Workers are frequently misclassified as independent contractors or supervisors, and thus excluded from the protections afforded to employees covered by the NLRA.”
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Jarringly for Republicans, it would also abolish state right-to-work laws. It’s a bill that would be dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate but passed the Democratic-held House mostly along party lines.
“Where workers have previously had the freedom to choose whether or not to pay fees & join a union, they will now be forced to pay membership fees or lose their job,” Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., said, opposing the bill. “This will put immeasurable power in the hands of union bosses.”
But the bill has picked up plenty of support from 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have all sponsored the Senate version of the legislation.
“The sustained, decades-long attacks on labor have driven union membership to historic lows and revealed that current labor laws are too weak to defend workers’ basic right to join a union and collectively bargain with their employer,” bill sponsor Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said in a statement after it passed. “The PRO Act is a comprehensive and sensible response that will level the playing field for workers.”