BLE battles North Dakota paycheck protection bill

CLEVELAND, January 25 -- BLE members are joining forces with other unions to stop a paycheck protection bill introduced last week in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

House Bill 1337 is an attempt to silence working families. The highly controversial paycheck protection bill, known as "paycheck deception" to unions, would require labor organizations to obtain written approval from each individual member before using dues money for political purposes. The measure would handcuff labor unions and cost them millions of dollars per year in paper work and red tape. These restrictions on labor unions would give unfair political advantages to corporations.

BLE North Dakota State Legislative Board Chairman Mike Muscha said union members may have a tough time stopping the legislation because Republican leaders of both the North Dakota House and Senate are sponsoring HB 1337.

Hundreds of workers flooded the state Capitol's Memorial Hall in Bismarck on January 24 to protest the legislation. The protestors called HB1337 nothing more than an attack on the rights of working families and a blatant violation of their First Amendment rights to have ongoing communication with their unions.

House Majority Leader Wes Belter (R-Leonard) and Senate Majority Leader Gary Nelson (R-Casselton) are sponsoring HB1337. The primary sponsor of the bill is Rep. Blair Thoreson (R-Fargo). Other legislators sponsoring the bill are Rep. George Keiser (R-Bismarck), Sen. Jerry Klein (R-Fessenden), and Sen. Bob Stenehjem (R-Bismarck).

Chairman Muscha asks BLE members in North Dakota to immediately contact the following members of the North Dakota House of Representatives Finance and Taxation Committee, who will hold hearings on the bill, and ask for a "do not pass recommendation" on HB 1337. BLE members should call them at: (888) 635-3447, or in Bismarck, at: 328-3373.

For more details on this attempt to silence working families in North Dakota, please call (701) 250-9472 or (701) 223-0778.

The full text of HB 1337 is available here:
http://ranch.state.nd.us/LR/01/bill_text/BBAO0100.pdf

In addition to battling HR 1337, members of the BLE's North Dakota State Legislative Board are busy with two other pieces of legislation. The first, Senate Bill 2359, would provide mandatory counseling and up to three days of leave for railroad crews following on the job critical incidents. The second, Senate Bill 2309, seeks to establish a minimum coverage of $4 million for railroad crew transportation providers in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

 

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January 25, 2001
bentley@ble.org

 

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers