What: All Issues : Labor Rights : General Union Rights : H R 800 The Employee Free Choice Act/On motion to recommit with instructions (2007 house Roll Call 117)
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H R 800 The Employee Free Choice Act/On motion to recommit with instructions
house Roll Call 117     Mar 01, 2007
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This vote represented a last-ditch effort by Republicans to alter a bill to make it easier for workers to join unions before the legislation headed to a final vote. The overall bill would require employers to recognize a new union through what's commonly known as a card-check procedure. Under current law, if a majority of workers within a given organization sign union cards to organize themselves, the union is only formed if the employer consents to its formation. Instead of doing so, companies often steer the election through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a process that makes it considerably more difficult for a union to be recognized. The legislation would mandate that companies recognize unionizing efforts among their workers if a majority of employees sign cards supporting the union. The business lobby, with a heavy push by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that such a requirement would effectively end secret balloting in union elections, as the cards do not have to be collected blindly, and would open up the possibility of labor unions coercing employees. Labor interests countered that such a change is necessary because the current system allows employers to coerce workers away from unions and to hold up legitimate organizing efforts for years. In the majority-drafted rules of debate, which passed by a separate vote, Democrats permitted Republicans to offer three amendments, all three of which failed. One of those amendments, offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), would have required the NLRB to allow employees to put their names on a "do not call" list if they didn't want to be contacted by union organizers. A largely symbolic vote, a motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's last chance to make substantive changes to a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. All but eight Republicans voted to send the bill back to committee with specific directions to include the minority's amendments. And although Republicans picked up 13 Democratic "ayes," it was insufficient to pass the motion to recommit, and the effort thus failed by a vote of 202-225. The failure of the motion to recommit meant that Republicans were shut out of their attempts to amend the measure in the House, and legislation making it easier for unions to organize headed for final passage without House Republicans' desired changes.

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