What: All Issues : Labor Rights : General Union Rights : HR 3043. (Fiscal 2008 labor, health, education spending) Kline of Minnesota amendment that would increase employment standards funding/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 3043. (Fiscal 2008 labor, health, education spending) Kline of Minnesota amendment that would increase employment standards funding/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 642     Jul 17, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by John Kline, R-Minn., that would boost funding for the Labor Department’s Office of Labor and Management Standards (OLMS)  by $2 million and reduce funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs by $3 million.  OLMS was created in 1959 to enforce the provisions of the law that ensures that labor unions adhere to “basic standards of democracy and fiscal responsibility.”

The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in fiscal 2008.

Kline said without his amendment, OLMS will have to cut its staff and that this could hurt labor union memers who want to know how their union dues are being spent.

“Rank-and-file union members deserve the right to know how their unions were spending and investing their members’ dues money; that their unions’ books were clean; and that elections for union officers would be fair and free of intimidation or scandal,” Kline said.  “OLMS functions like the Securities and Exchange Commission for labor unions.”

David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that OLMS has had its staff increased by 25 percent over the past four years, and that it is hardly being starved.

“So it seems to me that what the gentleman’s amendment does is to enrich the one portion of the Labor Department which has been doing very well, thank you, and they have been doing very well while other portions of the Labor Department that are supposed to focus on protecting workers have, in fact, been starved,” Obey said.

By a vote of 186-237, the amendment was rejected.  All but eight Democrats present voted for the amendment.  Of Republicans present, 178 voted for the amendment and 16 voted against it.  The end result is that the bill went forward without language that would have boosted money for forcing labor unions to disclose finances and trimmed money for international labor affairs.

 

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