House Workforce committee to repeal worker protections
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. (left) with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy celebrating bill to repeal ObamaCare. | Al Drago/AP

WASHINGTON – Last December, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R.–N.C., the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, told the Reuters news service that her top priority would be rolling back a series of Obama administration labor and employment policies.

She also said that unions “have lost their reason for being” and expressed pride in the fact that only South Carolina has a lower percentage of union members than her state.

Rep. Foxx became committee chair when another Republican, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, retired.

The committee recently published its calendar of hearings and the list of topics it will consider. It’s clear that Rep. Foxx is putting her priorities into action.

Her committee will target several pro-worker rules for repeal. They include a Labor Department rule expanding the eligibility for overtime pay and a National Labor Relations Board decision that joint employers, such as McDonald’s headquarters and a McDonald’s franchise, are both responsible for obeying labor laws.

The panel’s oversight agenda also includes:

“Particular scrutiny to the Labor Board’s changes to union election rules and unit determinations, decisions affecting joint-employer standards, and questions regarding whether graduate students are employees under the National Labor Relations Act.”

Those rules “empower union leaders at the expense of workers and members,” Foxx said when the panel adopted its calendar. When the top panel Democrat, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., proposed an alternative with more oversight over the Trump administration’s plans and policies, he lost on a party-line voice vote.

Furthermore, Foxx’s committee will revisit the Labor Department’s rule mandating that investment advisors for individuals and pension funds put their clients’ interests first. The GOP has wanted to repeal this rule ever since it went into effect.


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.