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Congressman Yarmuth Votes to Defend Workers' Rights

House Passed Legislation will Ensure Employees can 'Negotiate for Better Wages, Benefits, and Working Conditions'

(Washington, DC)  Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) voted to approve H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act.

The measure passed 241-187.

This legislation will create a fair and simple process for organizing labor unions, which is recognized as a human right by the United States in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.  Once enacted, employees will have the right to organize by signing a card and employers who violate the NLRA guidelines will be subject to stiffer penalties.

The intent of the legislation is to minimize and ultimately eliminate illegal actions by employers, including intimidation, threats, and unwarranted termination.  Currently one out of four employees is fired when trying to organize at their place of work.

Union members earn nearly one-third more than their unorganized counterparts and are five times as likely to have a pension.  Union members are also 40 percent more likely to have health insurance, which lessens the strain on a healthcare system in crisis.

"Even as their productivity has risen, the American worker has seen a drop in wages over the last six years," Yarmuth said.  "This legislation reinforces the rights of workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.  It is a major victory for hard-working men and women across the country and I am proud to have played a role in bringing this important legislation to the floor of the House."

Congressman Yarmuth is a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, which approved H.R. 800 on February 14, clearing the measure for confirmation by the House of Representatives.