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Extra Pay for Hard Work? Novel Concept Gets Help from Congress

The National Labor Relations Board has repeatedly ruled that individual bonuses constitute illegal “direct dealing”; the RAISE Act aims to change that.

Bridget Johnson


April 27, 2012 - 4:06 pm
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However, the Daily Kos took a crack at it — calling it a “stealth effort to wipe out collective bargaining” — and the congressman was happy to point out the inaccuracies.

First, the Kos post called the bill an amendment and said there was a vote scheduled this week — wrong.

“It’s not a license for employers to dispense with a CBA,” Rokita’s office pointed out. “It would simply allow them to give merit pay increases to individual employees above the ceiling set by the CBA. The CBA ‘floor’ would still apply.”

Kos post: “A union may or may not think bonus clauses are desirable. In production line industries, bonuses may not really be feasible. In intellectual industries, they may well be. One thing is for sure: a bonus clause can be negotiated. And many CBAs have such clauses. So Rokita is basically wrong about the need to modify the statute.”

Rokita: “Again, this confuses the issue. Yes, bonus clauses can be negotiated. But the RAISE Act specifically applies to raises for individual  employees, regardless of what collective bonus structure may be in place under the CBA.”

Kos post: “So what is Rokita really doing? Keep in mind that the GOP generally opposes regulation of private businesses. Yet, this proposed amendment butts into the CBA that the company and the union have wrangled out. So the amendment changes the dynamic and allows the company to disrupt the agreement based on its own motives. And if the employer’s motive is to sow discord, it can do so virtually free of any oversight—’Oh, we just thought that the anti-union employees deserved a bonus for their excellent workmanship.’ Uhhh…right….”

Rokita: “Wrong again. The NLRA specifically prohibits discriminatory treatment of employees based on union membership, and the RAISE Act contains nothing that would change that. It specifically would amend only Section 9(a).”

Kos post: “Rokita and his GOP cohorts should be called out and exposed.”

Rokita: “Exposed for what? It’s a 2-page bill.”

The next step for the RAISE Act will be a committee hearing. Rokita is excited about how Rubio’s companion legislation should help move his bill along.

“It’s an honor that a fellow newcomer to the city and to this process saw the value in this language and given his national stature already this is going to be nothing but helpful for this pro-worker bill,” Rokita said. “This not an anti-union bill.”

Watching the floor in both chambers to see which members vote against merit pay — proving who’s controlled by union bosses — should be particularly interesting in an election year.

“The house of cards is falling; I just don’t know the rate,” Rokita said. “You’re going to see part of it in this year’s election.”

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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