The Teamsters back a $1.1 trillion spending bill approved today by Congress for fiscal year 2016, saying it ensures workers retain their rights to organize on the job and will continue to receive comprehensive health insurance from their employers without being financially penalized.
“This omnibus package is a step in the right direction for workers,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Although the Teamsters didn’t get everything we wanted, Congress rejected attempts to turn back the clock on employees seeking union representation and makes sure those with good health insurance won’t be punished by the federal government in the short term.”
Lawmakers rightfully denied efforts that sought to prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from modifying agency rules for determining whether two or more employers are joint employers under federal law. Denying such a change would have stopped the NLRB from adapting its rules to the modern workplace.
In addition, legislators also issued a two-year delay on the implementation of the so-called “Cadillac” health care excise tax that would have hit union workers particularly hard. The Teamsters and our allies will continue to demand that Capitol Hill permanently outlaw this provision.
Congress also halted an attempt to deny legal protections to a large number of workers who are employed by tribally owned and operated businesses like casinos located on Native American lands. And it prevented language that would have stopped the NLRB from using any funds to implement rules approved last year to streamline and improve representation election procedures.
Provisions that would have allowed 33-foot double trailers on roadways nationwide and barred workers from electing and having a representative present during workplace safety inspections were also tossed aside by those on Capitol Hill.
The Teamsters are disappointed with a few provisions included in the massive spending measure. For example, the legislation weakens hours of service protections for truck drivers and labor protections for seasonal visa workers and includes language that undermines campaign finance disclosure requirements and country-of-origin labeling rules. These are matters that should be handled as part of the regular order of Congress, not in a giant end-of-the-year bill. While we oppose their inclusion outright, at the very least they deserved a full debate.
That said, President Hoffa said the spending measure overall is good for the country. “This is a bipartisan legislative accomplishment,” he said. “At a time when many believe government is broken, lawmakers have proven they can still get things done that help everyday Americans.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.