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House Subcommittee Examines Improvements to National Labor Relations Act

The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), examined proposals to improve the National Labor Relations Act or NLRA in July. The NLRA, also called the Wagner Act, is a 1935 law that established the rights and obligations of workers and employers regarding union elections, strikes and collective bargaining.

Among the witnesses was Tim Kane, Ph.D., chief economist with the Hudson Institute, who described the positive impact the RAISE Act–Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act–would have on the American economy. The RAISE Act (H.R. 4385, sponsored by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind.) would allow employers to award performance incentives, including raises and bonuses, to workers bound by collective bargaining agreements without obstruction by union representatives. Dr. Kane testified that overall productivity would increase an estimated 10 percent under the Act, allowing for increased wages and larger profits. The increased productivity would also lead to increased hiring and job creation.

Another proposal to amend the NLRA is the Secret Ballot Protection Act (H.R. 972), which was introduced by Chairman Roe. This proposal would mandate that union representation elections be administered only through secret ballot, and remove the potential for intimidation or coercion of workers by unions, employers or other workers through “card-check” designation and other informal methods.

Both proposed changes to the NLRA would benefit employers and workers alike. One provides an economic boost in a time of sluggish growth, while the other reaffirms democratic principles in the workplace. The International Franchise Association continues to work to promote pro-growth workforce policies that allow small businesses to fulfill their potential as job creators.

Kevin Serafino is legislative aide at the International Franchise Association. He can be reached at


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