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Unions Urge Lawmakers to Resist GOP Efforts to Undo Pro-Labor Rules

A joint letter lists over a dozen recently finalized or pending rules that are in congressional Republicans’ crosshairs.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaks at the Hudson Institute on July 8, 2024, in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 50 labor organizations representing a wide range of U.S. workers — from teachers to letter carriers to mine workers — are urging members of Congress this week to oppose Republican efforts to roll back a slew of Biden administration rules aimed at protecting the nation’s workforce from abusive employers and unscrupulous Wall Street investors.

Led by the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest federation of labor unions, the groups sent a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday warning about the GOP’s attempted use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn pro-worker rules enacted by the Department of Labor and other U.S. agencies.

Since it became law in 1996, the CRA has been used to overturn just 20 federal rules, with 16 of those rolled back by the Republican-dominated 115th Congress during the first two years of former President Donald Trump’s first term.

The new letter from labor unions lists more than a dozen recently finalized or pending rules that are in congressional Republicans’ crosshairs, including ones designed to expand overtime pay protections for millions of workers and shield employees from junk fees in retirement investment advice — a change that’s projected to save workers $55 billion over the next decade.

“Plainly, the CRA has become the latest weapon in a war on workers waged by special interests,” the letter states. “Each of the above resolutions, some of which already passed the Congress, carry a threat of permanently undermining critical gains for working people across the country.”

“It is absolutely critical that those who want to stand with workers do so united in their opposition to these attacks on pro-worker rulemaking,” the letter continues. “Each vote for one of these CRA disapproval resolutions is a vote against labor,” the letter continues. “We ask that you not allow private equity, the financial industry, multinational franchisors, unionbusters, or other special interests to use this tool to undo the progress that workers are making via federal rulemaking.”

Should any of the Republican CRA resolutions pass both the House and the Senate, the labor organizations urged President Joe Biden to use his veto power to keep the rules in place — something he’s done more than 10 times since taking office in 2024.

The labor groups’ call came a day before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce convened a hearing Wednesday to consider H.J. Res. 142, a Republican-authored CRA resolution aimed at overturning a Labor Department rule that would — as Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su put it — “get junk fees out of the retirement savings market.”

The rule is scheduled to take effect in September.

Liz Zelnick, director of the Economic Security and Corporate Power Program at Accountable.US, said in a statement Tuesday that the CRA resolution introduced by Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) “was written by and for Wall Street lobbyists, and any vote for it is a vote against increasing retirement savings for middle-class workers.”

“Rubber-stamping this resolution means giving greedy retirement advisers a free pass to put their own interests ahead of their clients — undermining retirement security for millions,” said Zelnick. “Right-wing lawmakers are eager to do the dirty work of their big bank megadonors while saying no to lower costs for everyday families. These members should answer why they believe the workers they represent are undeserving of the same quality of advice from their financial advisers.”

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