E622 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — Extensions of Remarks March 23, 2007 title 38, United States Code, to improve com- more, have greater access to healthcare ben- they were employees with every right to orga- pensation benefits for veterans in certain efits, and are more likely to have guaranteed nize. cases of impairment of vision involving both pensions than unorganized workers. When Because of these decisions, over 8 million eyes. I strongly support veterans and more workers get their fair share, the economy ben- American workers are denied their funda- specifically blind veterans. I am a co-sponsor efits and the middle class grows stronger. mental freedom of association today. As the of this legislation. A few weeks ago I intro- Yet the freedom to organize and collectively dissent pointed out in one of the decisions, 34 duced H.R. 1240, the ‘‘Vision Impairment Spe- bargain has been under severe assault in re- million Americans may fall into this category of cialist Training Act’’ to help our Nation’s blind cent decades, thanks to weak federal labor workers stripped of their statutory rights by veterans. laws in dire need of reform. It has also been 2012. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 797 modifies the stand- rolled back by a number of misguided deci- The impact of the Kentucky River decisions ard of awarding disability compensation to vet- sions by the National Labor Relations Board is already being felt, particularly in the health erans for loss of vision to require payment of (NLRB) in the last few years. These decisions care industry, where respect for workers’ compensation for impairment of vision involv- have operated to strip millions of workers en- rights is critical to efficient health care delivery ing both eyes due to a service-connected and tirely of their freedom to organize. The RE- and high quality patient care. In a case in non-service connected disability. SPECT Act serves to restore that freedom by Utah, an NLRB Regional Director, applying the There are 160,000 legally blind veterans in addressing a series of decisions which stray NLRB’s new definition of ‘‘supervisor,’’ found the United States, but only 44,000 are cur- dramatically from and undermine the original that virtually all of the registered nurses in a rently enrolled in Veterans Health Administra- intent of the National Labor Relations Board potential bargaining unit, 64 out of 88, were tion services. In addition, it is estimated that and which fly in the face of common sense. designated as supervisors, with the remaining there are over 1 million low-vision veterans in This bill provides clarity in the National Labor 24 nurses excluded only because they had less than one year’s service. Those remaining the United States, and incidences of blindness Relations Act (NLRA) on one aspect of the nurses will likely qualify as supervisors after among the total veteran population of 26 mil- fundamental question of coverage: who is an they have completed their first year of nursing. lion are expected to increase by about 40% employee and who is a supervisor. Absurd decisions breed absurd results. As the over the next few years. This is because the Last year, the NLRB issued a trio of deci- New York Times explained in an October 7, most prevalent causes of legal blindness and sions, collectively often referred to as the 2006 editorial: ‘‘[R]esponsibilities like making low vision are age-related, and the average ‘‘Kentucky River’’ decisions, which eviscerated out a schedule do not amount to manage- age of the veteran population is increasing; the meanings of ‘‘employee’’ and ‘‘supervisor’’ ment. If they did, interns would be the only the current average age is about 80 years old. under the NLRA. The NLRA protects employ- non-managers in many of today’s work- Members of the armed forces are important ees’ freedom to organize and collectively bar- gain. Supervisors are not considered employ- places.’’ to our Nation and we show them our apprecia- The Kentucky River decisions are not an ees and are therefore not covered by the Act’s tion by taking care of them after they no anomaly for the current Board. In the last five protections. If an individual is determined to be longer serve. It is important to amend title 38 years, the Board has repeatedly ruled to deny to ensure that our veterans are taken care of a supervisor, she has no right to organize, no or restrict the fundamental rights of entire cat- and that they receive the compensation that right to engage in concerted activity with her egories of workers. These include 45,000 dis- they deserve. Their service to this nation could fellow employees, and no right to collectively abled workers who lost their right to organize; never be repaid my monetary means, but we bargain. Every fundamental right protected by 51,000 teaching and research assistants who can ensure that the veterans that faithfully the Act may turn on this question of whether lost their right to organize; and 2 million tem- served our country are taken care of and she is a supervisor or an employee. The Ken- porary workers who have had their right to or- amending this legislation sends a message to tucky River decisions dramatically expanded ganize severely curtailed. our veterans that we care about their health the definition of supervisor far beyond the lim- The RESPECT Act will make two simple and well being long after their duty has ex- its that the framers of the Act intended and far and clarifying changes to the definition of su- pired. beyond the limits of common sense. In so pervisor under the NLRA. It will: (1) eliminate In addition to enhancing compensation ben- doing, it stripped an estimated 8 million work- the terms ‘‘assign’’ and ‘‘responsibility to di- efits for veterans, H.R. 797 requires the Sec- ers—particularly skilled and professional em- rect’’ from the list of supervisory duties; and retary of Veterans Affairs to provide the Sec- ployees—of the freedom to organize. (2) require that employees possess super- retary of Health and Human Services with in- In the workplace, people know who the su- visory duties during a majority of their work formation for comparison with the National Di- pervisor is. A supervisor has the power to dis- time in order to be excluded from coverage rectory of New Hires to determine eligibility for cipline, reward, promote, hire, and/or fire em- under the Act as a supervisor. Eliminating ‘‘as- certain benefits and services. This process en- ployees. The legislative history of the NLRA sign’’ and ‘‘responsibility to direct’’ from the su- sures that the proper protocol is followed in reflects these common sense understandings pervisor definition will effectuate Congress’ in- issuance of these benefits and that the bene- of who is or is not a supervisor. Congress tent to define supervisors as only those indi- fits are distributed to the proper recipients. drafted the NLRA to exclude from its protec- viduals who have genuine management pre- Mr. Speaker, I support H.R. 797 and I urge tions only genuine supervisors with true man- rogatives and the real authority to affect em- all members to do likewise. agement prerogatives, not minor supervisory ployees’ terms of employment. As the NLRB f employees, professionals, or skilled workers. has proven, these terms are open to abuse Yet the NLRB ignored common sense and and misinterpretation, far afield from their INTRODUCTION OF THE ‘‘RE-EM- legislative history in the Kentucky River deci- common-sense and originally intended mean- POWERMENT OF SKILLED AND sions. For professional and skilled employees, ings, by those seeking to roll back workers’ PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES AND who often provide direction to other employ- freedoms. CONSTRUCTION AND TRADES ees, the NLRB’s action is devastating. A nurse Requiring that employees possess super- WORKERS (RESPECT) ACT.’’ who directs another person to conduct a sin- visory duties for a majority of their work time gle, discrete task, such as clipping a patient’s will create a fair, bright-line rule when deter- HON. ROBERT E. ANDREWS toenails, would be considered to have super- mining whether an individual is a supervisor. OF NEW JERSEY visory authority under these recent decisions. Someone who possesses a modicum of su- IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES So would a nurse who assigns a patient to a pervisory authority a minority of the time nurse for a single shift. Thursday, March 22, 2007 should not be denied their fundamental rights. A carpenter who tells an apprentice how to Madam Speaker, the NLRA guarantees the Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, today I form a joint would also be considered to have freedom to organize and collectively bargain rise to fight for middle class Americans by in- supervisory authority. These skilled and pro- for America’s private sector workforce. That troducing the ‘‘Re-empowerment of Skilled and fessional workers have no power to promote, freedom is a fundamental human right and a Professional Employees and Construction and discipline, reward, hire, or fire—and yet they proven key to a strong middle class. It is un- Tradesworkers (RESPECT) Act.’’ Day after would be supervisors, according to the NLRB, conscionable that the rights of an estimated 8 day, middle class families are struggling to even if they only held the authority to ‘‘direct’’ million Americans—and many more in coming survive as their real incomes decline and the a person on single, discrete tasks just 10 per- years—be put at risk by such deeply flawed costs of basic necessities increase. A major cent of the time. Having been classified as a decisionmaking as we have seen in the Ken- contributor to this middle class squeeze is the supervisor without realizing it, these employ- tucky River line of cases. The RESPECT Act decline in workers’ freedom to organize and ees may be subject to lawful discipline for try- does nothing more than clarify the law to en- collectively bargain. Organized workers earn ing to organize a union when they thought sure it is not misinterpreted or undermined on
VerDate Aug 31 2005 01:34 Apr 19, 2007 Jkt 059060 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 0626 Sfmt 9920 E:\RECORD07\E23MR7.REC E23MR7 hmoore on PRODPC68 with CONG-REC-ONLINE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — Extensions of Remarks E623 a fundamental question of coverage. All work- JUDICIAL DISCLOSURE Charles Koster, the father of the unsuccessful ers, including skilled and professional workers, RESPONSIBILITY ACT plaintiff in a discrimination case. The following have the right to organize. The RESPECT Act year, U.S. Circuit Court Judge Richard Vance SPEECH OF does not allow true supervisors to engage in was killed by a letter bomb sent to his home. organizing or collective bargaining. But it en- HON. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE The letter bomb was attributed to racist ani- mus against Judge Vance for writing an opin- sures that those individuals who are excluded OF TEXAS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ion reversing a lower-court ruling to lift an 18– from the NLRA’s protections due to their su- year desegregation order from the Duval Wednesday, March 21, 2007 pervisory status do indeed carry the genuine County, Florida schools. prerogatives of management. I urge all of my Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, In light of these and other tragedies, Con- colleagues to stand with me as we fight to re- I strongly support H.R. 1130, the ‘‘Judicial Dis- gress responded by adding a new subsection turn these fundamental protections to millions closure Responsibility Act,’’ because it extends to the Ethics in Government Act temporarily workers who deserve the chance to win livable until December 31, 2009, the authority con- authorizing the Judicial Conference to redact wages, fair benefits, decent working condi- ferred by the Congress on the Judicial Con- information from judges’ financial disclosure tions, and a brighter future for their families. ference to redact personal and sensitive infor- reports under certain circumstances. Under mation from the published financial disclosure that subsection, a report may be redacted ‘‘(i) reports of judges and judiciary employees who to the extent necessary to protect the indi- f have been threatened or otherwise have par- vidual who filed the report; and (ii) for as long HONORING STEPHEN TRACHTEN- ticular security risks. as the danger to such individual exists.’’ The Mr. Speaker, as I stated, H.R. 1130 would BERG AS HE STEPS DOWN AS Act further charged the U.S. Judicial Con- temporarily extend the authority of the Judicial PRESIDENT OF GEORGE WASH- ference, in consultation which the Department Conference to withhold from disclosure certain of Justice, with the task of submitting to the INGTON UNIVERSITY personal and sensitive information of judges House and Senate Committees on the Judici- and judicial employees. In addition, the bill ex- ary an annual report documenting redactions. pressly provides that concern for the safety of In 2001, the House of Representatives ap- HON. CLIFF STEARNS a judge’s family as well as that of the judge is proved a bill striking the sunset clause and OF FLORIDA sufficient grounds to exercise the authority making the redaction authority permanent but given. The bill, however, requires the Judicial the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Conference to provide detailed reports regard- did not concur. The Senate was concerned Thursday, March 22, 2007 ing such redactions to Congress. that such authority could hamper the effective- Mr. Speaker, the financial disclosure re- ness of the judicial confirmation and oversight Mr. STEARNS. Madam Speaker, when I quirements were imposed by Congress in process by unwarranted reliance on the redac- graduated from George Washington, I like to 1978 in response to the constitutional issues tion authority to avoid revealing stock holdings sometimes think only a few years ago, I did surrounding the Watergate crisis and the res- and other financial assets, and in some cases, not realize that I would be so involved with the ignation of President Richard M. Nixon. The the complete withholding of all financial infor- mation contrary to the intent of the statute. Ul- school later in my life. President Trachtenberg Ethics in Government Act was passed in 1978 and promotes ethics and openness in govern- timately, Senate recommended extending the has made these efforts a joy and an honor, ment by establishing rules of conduct for fed- redaction authority for 4 more years, until De- and we will miss his leadership. eral employees to reduce corruption and pre- cember 31, 2005. This authority has now ex- His tenure as president transformed the uni- vent the improper use of knowledge gained pired and necessitates the extension provided versity, marking major advancements across while employed by the government, and more by H.R. 1130. the board. Since taking the helm in 1988, the broadly to prevent the appearance of impro- Mr. Speaker, the Judiciary Committee con- academics of GW have skyrocketed. The SAT priety. sidered and properly rejected permanently granting this authority to the Judicial Con- scores of incoming students rose by 200 The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 ference because of the legitimate concern that points and a significant percentage of students (‘‘Act’’) applies to all branches of government, including the federal judiciary. Persons cov- such authority could be abused in such a way are now drawn from the top 10 percent of high ered by the Act are required to disclose per- as to withhold information that properly should school classes. sonal and financial information each year, in- be disclosed. A temporary 4-year extension, While enriching the academic environment cluding the source and amount of income, on the other hand, would effectively allow for at George Washington, President Trachten- other than that earned as employees of the a more in-depth investigation of areas of con- berg also enhanced the financial situation. The United States government received during the cern before Congress must decide whether to school enjoyed a balanced budget under each preceding calendar year. They must also dis- make the authority permanent. I believe this is the most prudent way to proceed. year of your tenure, generating an endowment close the source, description, and value of gifts for which the aggregate value is more Mr. Speaker, I support H.R. 1130 because of nearly $1 billion, up almost $800 million it preserves an important means of protecting since you started in 1988. than a certain minimal amount received from any source other than a relative; the source the safety of those who work in the federal ju- diciary. Particularly in this age of the global As Steve has often noted, GW has eight and description of reimbursements; the identity war on terror, the danger faced by federal schools, over 100 programs, and nearly and category of value of property interests; the judges, judicial officers, and court personnel is 20,000 students. And he adds, ‘‘GW is more identity and category value of liabilities owed real, as illustrated by the three murders noted than a university, it is also a community.’’ to creditors other than certain immediate fam- above. The recent and tragic murder of U.S. Through his outstanding efforts, the university ily members; and other financial information. District Court Judge Joan Humphrey Letkow’s encompasses academics, research, entertain- Under the Act, these reports are made public. husband and mother reminds us that the dan- ment, and an enjoyable experience for stu- Among the types of sensitive personal infor- mation that might be disclosed in these re- ger has not abated. dents, faculty and staff. For all of these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I sup- ports are personal residences, the workplace port H.R. 1130 and urge by colleagues to do In total, 30 years of his amazing career of spouses, the name and location of a child’s likewise. went into leading a major university. He de- school; and an employee’s vacation home. serves more time at home, applying his en- In 1998, 20 years after the enactment of the f ergy and talents to his personal life. I under- Ethics in Government Act, the potential of 186TH ANNIVERSARY OF GREEK stand his wife Francine is retired, but still very these types of disclosures to place individual INDEPENDENCE DAY active in promoting the community’s interest, judges at serious risk of personal harm had and I bet she could use his help. become manifest. In 1979, U.S. District Court HON. THELMA D. DRAKE Judge John Wood, Jr., was fatally shot outside It has been an honor to work with President OF VIRGINIA of his home by assassin Charles Harrelson. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Trachtenberg on behalf of George Washington The murder contract had been placed by University—his tireless efforts have yielded im- Texas drug lord Jamiel Chagra, who was Thursday, March 22, 2007 measurable results—the school, Washington, awaiting trial before the judge. Mrs. DRAKE. Madam Speaker, I rise today D.C., our nation, and the world are better be- In 1988, U.S. District Court Judge Richard in honor of the 186th Anniversary of Greek cause of them. Daronco was murdered at his house by Independence Day.
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