Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was endorsed by the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, a union representing around 80,000 workers. The union also endorsed Secretary Clinton in 2008.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Representative John Kline (R- Minn.) have introduced legislation in their respective chambers to overrule the NLRB’s Browing-Ferris joint employer test. The bill would require the Board to revert to its previous standard.
The Illinois House of Representatives failed to join the Illinois Senate in overriding Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have barred strikes or lockouts of state employees covered by collective bargaining agreements with certain unions. Instead, unions and the state would have been required to mediate disputes and, if either side declared an impasse, participate in arbitration. Public employee unions backed the bill after alleging that the Governor failed to bargain in good faith in negotiating a new contract.
Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House labor committees, introduced legislation in both bodies that would amend the NLRA. The Workplace Action for a Growing Economy Act (WAGE Act) would provide employees with a private right of action to sue employers in federal court for treble damages, permit civil penalties for unfair labor practices, and authorize fines of $10,000 for each day an employer fails to comply with Board orders. It would also require the NLRB to seek preliminary injunctions when an unfair labor practice charge is filed and a Board official reasonably suspects that the alleged practices have occurred. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka described the current version of the NLRA, which was written in the 1940s, as “archaic.” The WAGE Act is the first in a series of planned bills intended to overhaul federal labor law.
Senator Mike Lee (R- Utah) introduced the Protecting American Jobs Act, a bill that would strip the NLRB of its powers to adjudicate and prosecute labor disputes while continuing to permit the Board to conduct investigations. Under Lee’s plan, federal courts would hear labor disputes.
Following on the heels of a California Labor Commissioner decision holding that an Uber driver was an employee and not an independent contractor, a member of the Seattle City Council introduced legislation that would pave the way for the city’s taxi drivers, most of whom are independent contractors, to collectively bargain for pay rates. Under the proposal, drivers could create a nonprofit organization that could engage in collective bargaining. The city could enforce any agreements the organizations reach using its regulatory and licensing authority.
President Obama will nominate Linda Puchala for a third term on the National Mediation Board. Puchala’s second term expired in July. The NMB oversees labor relations in the airline and railroad sectors.