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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Reconciliation Bill Would Increase Fines for Labor-Law Violations

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Monday, November 1, 2021   

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Labor leaders are pressing for a deal on the Build Back Better reconciliation package, because it increases penalties on companies that violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The new bill would impose civil fines of $50,000 to $100,000 per violation.

Dan Mauer, director of government affairs for the Communication Workers of America, said companies will keep flouting the rules until they have a financial incentive to comply.

"If we want to rebuild the labor movement and, in turn, rebuild the middle class, we've got to make sure those issues get corrected," Mauer asserted.

Labor groups were only able to get a few of their priorities into the reconciliation bill.

The rest are in the PRO Act, which passed the U.S. House this spring but has been blocked by Republicans in the Senate, who argued the changes are too onerous for companies, especially those struggling to recover after the pandemic.

The PRO Act would expand the NLRA, so companies would be in violation if they retaliate against workers trying to organize a union, require workers to attend so-called "captive audience" meetings, or permanently replace workers who go on strike.

Carla Campos-Ortiz, a member of CWA Local 9413 in Sparks, said state labor protections are very weak and leave workers to fend for themselves.

"Especially in Nevada, we're a right-to-work state," Campos-Ortiz pointed out. "A lot of these people get fired, and they don't have a choice. They have no way to fight for their jobs to avoid getting laid off."

The PRO Act would also ban the practice of locking out employees prior to a strike, or misclassifying certain workers as "non-employees."

Disclosure: Communications Workers of America contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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