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Legislative Updates

Anti-labor Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act falls short in Senate

Today, as part of a larger package of bills, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (S. 63) fell short in a crucial vote to proceed to debate in the Senate. The bill, designed to prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from regulating many American Indian gaming casinos, would strip the collective-bargaining rights of more than 628,000 tribal casino workers, including those who are not tribal citizens. Passage of the bill would have marked one of the biggest erosions of labor protections in recent years and laid the groundwork for acceptance in rolling back worker protections across the board.

Like previous efforts in Congress (link), the package that included the bill (S. 140) fell five votes short of the 60 needed to advance. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) was the lone Republican to vote against the bill, which gathered support among Democrats including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) who all voted in its favor. Sen Angus King (I-ME), an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted in favor of advancing the bill.

“Failure of this attack on workers demonstrates the strength in support from Members of Congress in both chambers who not only understand worker protections, but also rise to the task of fighting back,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “NALC commends the Members of Congress who opposed this effort by standing with workers.”

It remains unclear if the Senate will attempt to bring the measure up again, but its failure should be celebrated by the labor community.

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