What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Public Employees : (H.R. 5116) On an amendment (to legislation authorizing funding for scientific and technological research) barring public institutions (such as public universities) from receiving funds authorized by the bill if those institutions fail to provide unions with information to which they were entitled under current law (2010 house Roll Call 265)
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(H.R. 5116) On an amendment (to legislation authorizing funding for scientific and technological research) barring public institutions (such as public universities) from receiving funds authorized by the bill if those institutions fail to provide unions with information to which they were entitled under current law
house Roll Call 265     May 12, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) to a science and technology research bill barring public institutions (such as public universities) from receiving funds for facilities and administrative costs if they failed to provide labor organizations with information (relating to facilities and administrative costs) to which they were entitled under current law.  Specifically, those institutions would be required to provide labor organizations with the applicable information within 15 days of a request. When universities submit requests for grants, those requests account for the cost of maintaining or installing new facilities, and various administrative costs. Often, postdoctoral individuals are responsible for carrying out much of this administrative work (which includes tasks such as running laboratories).  Miller charged that the University of California, Berkley, for example, had failed to pass on grant funding intended for administrative costs to the postdoctoral individuals who did the administrative work. Thus, the amendment was intended to force universities to be more transparent with respect to how they spend grant funding.

Miller urged support for his amendment: “…This has really nothing to do with labor law. The question is whether the postdoctorate employees of the university who are involved in running these very sophisticated labs and experiments and research, whether or not they get the information that they are entitled to under the law.”

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) urged opposition to the amendment: “…Any public university receiving funds in this bill …would have to produce any documents or information that a union requests within 15 days or face the threat of losing federal funding….I find this amendment troubling, and urge its defeat.”

The House agreed to Miller’s amendment by a vote of 250-174. 241 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted “yea.” 161 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment barring public institutions (such as public universities) from receiving funds authorized by the bill if those institutions fail to provide unions with information to which they were entitled under current law.

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