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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act Of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RUBIO. Madam President, this amendment would amend the National Labor Relations Act to allow employers to give merit-based compensation increases to individual employees, even if those increases are not part of the collective bargaining agreement. Essentially, this will make the union contract wage a minimum, while giving employers the flexibility to reward diligent employees for their hard work. The bottom line is that today, if you work at one of these firms and the employer wants to give you a raise, they can't do it because it goes against the collective bargaining amount. So this amendment would allow them to do that.

That is a brief explanation of the amendment.

Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, this amendment is a solution in search of a problem. I don't know--have any of my colleagues here had unionized businesses come to them complaining that they can't give a raise? Have any of my colleagues ever heard of that--they have complained they can't give a raise?

The fact is collective bargaining agreements already provide--many of them--for merit-based performance increases. That is part and parcel of a lot of the agreements today. So what this amendment basically does is it undercuts the National Labor Relations Act. That is exactly what it does. If you think we should do away with the National Labor Relations Act and all the benefits and all the protections it has both for businesses and for workers, this is your amendment right here. Quite frankly, I can't think of anything that would be more disruptive of a workplace than this amendment. When a business and workers have agreed on a collective bargaining agreement, this would destroy that kind of comity in the workplace.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.

The Senator from Florida.

Mr. RUBIO. Madam President, I disagree. And I know we are now going to vote on this matter, so I ask for the yeas and nays.


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