Democrats Block Motion to Ban Illegal Aliens from Working with Labor Unions

A group of about 30 Brazilian migrants, who had just crossed the border, sit on the ground near US Border Patrol agents, on the property of Jeff Allen, who used to run a brick factory near Mt. Christo Rey on the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March …
PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images

House Democrats blocked an amendment to a labor union bill on Thursday that would have prevented illegal immigrants from working with unions.

The House voted on the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019, or PRO Act, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), which passed through the chamber on strictly partisan lines.

Despite the Pro Act’s title, many Republicans contend that the legislation contains many provisions that actually harm workers. The ProAct would:

  • Eliminate 27 states’ Right to Work laws, which would allow workers to choose whether to join a union and protect them retribution if they do not wish to join a union.
  • Federally mandate California’s three-part “ABC test” to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, which will eliminate flexibility for workers.
  • Mandate that employers share employees’ personal information without their approval, which would expose them to unwanted contact and potential harassment.
  • Expands the unions’ ability to organize without a vote by employees.
  • Replaces the freedom to contract with binding arbitration.
  • Deny employers the right to be heard before the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) on any matter regarding union representation.
  • Allow illegal aliens to sue employers and collect financial rewards that exceed what legal employees can receive.

In contrast to the ProAct, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contains a provision that would allow for Mexican union workers to vote by secret ballot.

“The PRO Act is a bad bill that needlessly inserts the government in the employer-employee relationship, harming both employers and employees,” Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA) wrote in an op-ed this week.

The Democrat union bill also contains language that would allow illegal aliens to participate in unions.

For instance, page 19 of the ProAct allows for illegal aliens to obtain back pay:

Provided further, no relief under this subsection shall be denied on the basis that the employee is, or was during the time of relevant employment or during the back pay period, an unauthorized alien as defined in section 274A(h)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3)) or any other provision of Federal law relating to the unlawful employment of aliens.

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) proposed a motion to recommit or send the legislation to the Education and Labor Committee, with instructions that the bill includes a provision that would prevent illegal aliens from communicating and working with a labor union.

The Republican amendment states, “A labor union shall not communicate with an employee regarding joining or supporting the labor organization if the employee is not authorized to work in the United States.”

While Hern spoke, Democrats frequently interrupted, booed, and hissed at the Oklahoman congressman when he delivered his remarks.

Hern said on the House floor:

This amendment ensures that labor unions are not using illegal foreign labor to expand their reach into American workplaces & collect more union dues. Under current law, an employee can sign a union authorization card to count toward the “showing of interest” in a union election regardless of whether that worker is authorized to work in the United States. Illegal immigrants should not be working at American companies, let alone used by labor unions to organize workplaces. This Motion to Recommit ensures that unions cannot communicate with employees for organizing purposes if the employee is not legally authorized to work in the United States.

The change we’re proposing here is simple. We’re asking that unions be barred from contacting individuals who are not eligible to work in our country.

If an employer cannot hire someone in our country illegally, a union should not be allowed to organize those individuals. Believe it or not, this is not currently outlawed.

If my colleagues insist on moving forward with legislation that empowers union bosses and strips independence from our workers, they should not do it in a way that encourages illegal immigration.

This Motion to Recommit would make the PRO Act pro-American worker, rather than just pro-union bosses.

Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) said in response to Hern that the Republican amendment to block illegal aliens from participating in unions “deters all workers from organizing.”

Democrats rejected the amendment that would have blocked illegal aliens from working with unions, with 223 lawmakers against and 195 in favor of the amendment.

Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Collin Peterson (D-MN) voted with Republicans to pass the amendment, while Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) voted with Democrats to block the amendment.

Reps. Max Rose (D-NY), Cindy Anxe (D-IA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Kendra Horn (D-OK) and other swing district Democrats voted against the amendment to prevent illegal aliens from working with labor unions. 

One senior House GOP aide told Breitbart News that the Democrats’ rejection of the Republican motion to recommit shows how they fail to put American workers before illegal immigrants.

“It’s appalling that Democrats have once again refused to put American workers first. Their far-Left vote today shows their unwillingness to support even commonsense measures to protect American citizens from being undercut by illegal immigration,” a House GOP aide told Breitbart News.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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