Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Democrats Can't Stop TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY ACT from Passing in the House

Proving that Democrats only pay LIP SERVICE to Sovereignty when it comes to protecting UNIONS.

Today, Congress passed the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2015 (249-177 with 24 Democrats joining a majority of Republicans), which rolls back federal agency intervention in tribal affairs in order to restore greater sovereignty to tribes. Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke cosponsored and voted for the measure. The legislation will amend the National Labor Relations Act to affirm that the law does not apply to any business owned and operated by an Indian tribe and located on tribal land, restoring to tribal leaders control over employee-employer relations.

“This is about sovereignty, opportunity and respect,” said Rep. Ryan Zinke.  “The federal government already saddles our tribes with burdensome regulations that hamper their ability to achieve the same goals of prosperity and success that we all aspire to. Considering the fact that the NLRB notoriously overreaches in the private sector, imagine what damage they would do to Montana’s tribes. H.R.511 is supported by tribes all across the nation. This bill affirms my strong support for their sovereignty.”

Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act Of 2015:

Prevents the NLRB from exerting jurisdiction over Native American businesses operating on tribal lands by restoring a legal standard in place long before the board’s misguided decision.

Protects the sovereignty of Native American tribes, ensuring they are afforded the same rights and protections enjoyed by state and local governments.

Returns to tribes the ability to govern labor relations in their businesses in a way they determine is best for their workplaces, eliminating legal confusion and uncertainty.



Background: In 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino decision, overturning a long-standing precedent, and began using a subjective test to determine when and where to assert its jurisdiction over Indian tribes. Prior to its San Manuel decision, the NLRB respected the sovereignty of Native American tribes, holding that they were generally free from outside intervention. The board now decides on a case-by-case basis whether a tribal business on tribal land is for commercial purposes, and if it is, the board asserts its jurisdiction over that business. As a result, the NLRB is picking winners and losers among Indian tribes and creating legal confusion and uncertainty for tribal leaders and businesses.

Members of the Native American community have raised concerns about the NLRB’s “increasingly aggressive approach to enforcement,” saying it:

“Creates unacceptable risks and uncertainties for all tribal nation rights under federal law and to their dignity as sovereigns;”
“Infringes on the ability of tribes to govern activities on their lands and provide vital services to [their] members;” and
“Impair[s] tribal sovereignty and the developing economies in Indian country.”
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