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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Bill in Congress Targets Intimidation of Unionizing Workers

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Monday, January 13, 2020   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The U.S. House has committed to voting on a comprehensive bill supporting union organizing before Presidents' Day.

The announcement comes after 68 representatives, including Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., sent a letter to the House leadership urging the lawmakers to bring the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to the floor.

The bill contains a suite of reforms, including the elimination of right-to-work laws, rules prohibiting employers from delaying the negotiation of collective bargaining contracts and penalties for retaliating against union organizing.

"It's commonplace in private sector union organizing, in Oregon and across the country, that workers are intimidated, they're scared," says Graham Trainor, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO. "Employers use mandatory one-on-one meetings to intimidate workers from joining a union, and it really stacks the deck against the group of workers who want to see change."

The PRO Act has 218 cosponsors, with every Democratic Party House member in Oregon signing on except for Rep. Kurt Schrader.

While the bill's chances are good in the House, it's considered dead on arrival in the Senate. Trainor says it's still important for the House to vote on it.

"I recognize the political hurdles and challenges of today's bill and with today's Congress and administration, but that's not to say that this isn't a multi-year strategy," he states. "That's not to say that this shouldn't continue to be an issue that we press lawmakers to tackle in a really serious way over the coming years."

Trainor sees unions rising across the country, especially among young people. In 2017, more than three-quarters of new members were younger than 35.

And a 2018 poll by the Pew Research Center found nearly 70% of people ages 18 to 29 have a favorable view of unions.


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