Communications Workers tell DCCC to cut off House Democrats who voted against labor bill

The Communications Workers of America told House Democrats Tuesday to deny campaign funds to the seven Democrats who voted against final passage of a bill to expand labor rights.

The CWA, which represents 700,000 workers, made its request in a letter to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the letter, the union said that in opposing final passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the seven House Democrats "voted against a core and fundamental principle of the Democratic Party."

The PRO Act passed the House earlier this month on a 224-194 vote, with five Republicans voting in favor. It is not expected to clear the Senate.

The seven House Democrats who voted against the PRO Act are Reps. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Lucy McBath of Georgia, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Henry Cuellar of Texas and Ben McAdams of Utah. Four of these lawmakers — McBath, Horn, McAdams and Cunningham, all freshmen — occupy tossup seats, according to the Jan. 31 Cook Political Report.

In the letter, CWA President Christopher Shelton urged the DCCC "to deny ... services to the seven members," whom he said "betrayed working people and America's labor movement by voting against final passage" of the PRO Act.

The PRO Act, if it were to become law, would create the broadest expansion of labor rights in seven decades. The bill would, among other things, allow employees to form a union via card check if workers can demonstrate employer interference, and would allow the NLRB to impose fines on employers. Under current law, the NLRB may order reinstatement or collection of back pay, but it can't level fines.

Ahead of the House vote, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka threatened to withhold campaign contributions from any member of Congress who didn't support the bill. "Do not ask us — do not ask the labor movement — for a dollar or a door knock,” Trumka said.

The PRO Act has drawn strong opposition from the business lobby. The Chamber of Commerce said the bill "does not bode well for workers, employers or the economy," and said it represented the biggest threat from labor since the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have restored card check. That bill failed in the Senate by a narrow margin in 2007.

The DCCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.