House Republicans and Anti-Labor Dems Vote to Repeal Pro-Worker NRLB Rule

Jonathan Cohn
2 min readJan 15, 2024

In October, the National Labor Relations Board finalized a new rule making it harder for large companies to avoid liability for labor law violations.

In particular, the rule concerned the standard for what “joint employer” status.” In the franchise world, many large, multinational corporations try to evade labor law by claiming that they have no employment relationship with the staff at an individual location. Similarly, many companies have sought to evade rules by contracting and subcontracting out basic functions. The NLRB under former President Donald Trump had issued a rule that was heavily biased toward the large company employers, and this is an important corrective.

In its comments on the proposed rule in 2022, the Economic Policy Institute argued that the proposed rule would benefit workers by at least $1.06 billion annually by enabling workers to more effectively unionize and collectively bargain (and possibly several times more).

We should all, of course, be happy when workers do better. But that, unfortunately, is not the case. This past week, House Republicans voted to repeal the rule in a 206 to 177 vote, with 8 Democrats joining Republicans to vote for it.

The 8 Democrats were Ami Bera (CA-06), Ed Case (HI-01), Lou Correa (CA-46), Jim Costa (CA-21), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Don Davis (NC-01), and Scott Peters (CA-50).

It is not likely to be taken up by the Senate, but the vote is telling nonetheless.

The House also voted, on a party line vote, for a bill to restrict the Justice Department’s ability to direct money from its settlements to non-government groups — a solution in search of a problem at best, and harmful to civil rights and environmental protection. Republicans are still mad that in 2016, the Obama administration required Volkswagen to invest more than $2 billion in environmental projects to reduce emissions as part of the settlement following from their having designed diesel vehicles to evade emissions tests.



Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.