What: All Issues H. Res. 203 Providing for the consideration of H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act/On agreeing to the resolution (2007 house Roll Call 113)
 Who: All Members

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H. Res. 203 Providing for the consideration of H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act/On agreeing to the resolution
house Roll Call 113     Mar 01, 2007
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This vote determined the rules for debate on a bill to make it easier for workers to join unions. In order for legislation to be taken up in the House, the chamber decides on ground rules for which amendments will be considered in order and how much time will be allotted each side for debate. The rules package, as it is known, is drafted by the majority-dominated Rules Committee. The bill in question makes significant changes to existing labor law and 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 package, Democrats permitted Republicans to offer three amendments. 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. Votes on rules packages are usually party-line affairs, with the majority party voting in favor of the rules it drafted, and the minority party voting against it. Such was the case in this vote, with every Democrat present voting for the resolution and all Republicans present but one voting against it. (Rep. John McHugh was the lone dissenter among Republicans; his New York district has a heavy labor presence.) The rules package thus passed by a vote of 230-195, and the bill to make it easier for unions to organize was subsequently brought to the floor.

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