Political briefs – Oct. 7


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AS SENATE LABOR COMMITTEE CONVENES HEARING ON RECENT DECISION TO PROVIDE FRANCHISE WORKERS AND SUBCONTRACT WORKERS WITH ABILITY TO ORGANIZE AND BARGAIN, BROWN COMMITS TO BLOCKING RIGHT-WING ATTACK ON WORKERS – As the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee convenes a hearing to challenge the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) August vote to give franchise workers and subcontract workers the ability to organize and bargain with corporations rather than individual franchises or subcontractors, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) renewed his efforts to block Republican attacks on the historic ruling.

“The fact that Republicans see this NLRB decision as an attack on businesses instead of an opportunity to increase wages and workplace protections for workers proves just how out of touch their party is with America’s workforce,” said Brown. “When workers have a voice, we know they get better benefits, fairer wages, and a safer workplace. Reversing this ruling would rob workers of their right to bargain with their employer. The legislation put forth by several of my Republicans colleagues is a disappointing assault on workers’ ability to be their own advocate and I will stop at nothing to defeat it should it come to the floor.”

Republicans in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation, the “Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act,” to reverse the NLRB’s decision.

Brown continues to support American workers by protecting the right to collectively bargain, advocating for better wages, and ensuring paid sick leave.

HUSTED FILES WITH COURT OF COMMON PLEAS TO ENFORCE RESPONSIBLEOHIO SUBPOENAS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted asked the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to enforce his subpoenas requesting documents and testimony from Ian James and Stephen Letourneau of the Strategy Network in order to advance the investigation into the group’s role in suspected voter fraud while working to place ResponsibleOhio’s State Issue 3 on the ballot.

“Ohio’s Constitution and Ohio’s laws require me to maintain fair and honest elections, which compels me to investigate when suspicions of fraud arise, hold those responsible accountable and maintain the confidence of the voters in this state,” Secretary Husted added. “I will defend the statutory authority of my office.”

Under the subpoenas, James and Letourneau were both instructed to produce documents relating to their organization’s voter registration and signature collection efforts by September 28, 2015. Both were also required to submit to a deposition by investigators with the Secretary of State on Friday, October 2, 2015.

“We know from our investigation that ResponsibleOhio and the Strategy Network’s petitions contained signatures of dead people – We know from our investigation that they attempted to register people under fake addresses – We know from our investigation there were voter registration forms that were forged and completed by someone other than the registrant – We know from our investigation that practices used in putting this marijuana monopoly on the ballot were at best, questionable, and at worst, fraudulent,” Secretary Husted said. “What we don’t know is the exact depth of the fraud that was committed and who exactly was involved, which is why I have asked the court to enforce the subpoenas and help me find the truth.”

WITH UNION MEMBERSHIP DECLINING, BROWN INTRODUCES BILL TO RESTORE WORKERS’ RIGHT TO FORM A UNION, BARGAIN WITH THEIR EMPLOYER – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Patty Murray (D-WA), introduced legislation to strengthen workers’ ability to unionize and bargain with their employer.

“For years, the ability of workers to unionize has given employees the opportunity to bargain for better wages and benefits. And unions have been one of our nation’s strongest voices for workplace safety and fairness. But over time, employers have steadily undermined workers’ ability to organize through nefarious tactics,” said Brown. “By allowing the use of the majority sign-up process and ensuring a timely contract negotiation, we can help restore this fundamental right to form a union.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than nonunion workers’ wages; 79 percent of union workers receive health insurance from their employers compared with 49 percent of nonunion workers; and 83 percent of union workers receive paid sick leave compared with 62 percent of nonunion workers.

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