Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma). Photo: National Congress of American Indians

Rep. Cole seeks to add Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act to funding bill

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) is hoping to add the controversial Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act to a must-pass spending bill, The Hill reports.

The bill already passed the House as part of an unrelated Indian bill. Prospects in the Senate are uncertain so including it in the upcoming omnibus appropriations measure would address that issue.

“Tribal Labor Sovereignty might be able to make it,” Cole, who is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, told The Hill. “That would be my priority.”

The bill exempts tribes and their businesses -- primarily casinos -- from the National Labor Relations Act. States and local governments are already exempt from the law so supporters see it as a way to ensure parity for Indian Country.


The measure faces opposition from labor unions and their Democratic allies in Congress. They believe the measure will lead to fewer protections for employees of tribal enterprises.

The House included the provisions of H.R.986, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, in S.140. The bill passed the chamber on January 10 and awaits another vote in the Senate.

“It’s been such a contentious issue and tribes have tried really hard to get it through the Senate,” an unnamed lobbyist told The Hill. “Leadership in both parties are engaged in this issue.”

Funding for the federal government ends on March 23 so lawmakers must come up with another appropriations measure in order to avert a shutdown. It is that vehicle to which Cole wants to attach the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.

Read More on the Story:
Five things lawmakers want attached to the $1 trillion funding bill (The Hill March 11, 2018)
Senate bill would end union rights for Indian casino workers (nwLaborPress.org February 27, 2018)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Tribal labor law rider killed by wide margin in House (June 27, 2005)
NCAI between 'rock and a hard place' on labor rider (September 13, 2004)
Tribal labor amendment fails in House vote (September 10, 2004)
Federal labor board expands jurisdiction over tribes (June 4, 2004)

Related Stories:
Tribes looking for more support to pass controversial sovereignty bill (February 14, 2018)
Tribes in Connecticut support passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (January 24, 2018)
Union slams Democrats who supported Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (January 23, 2018)
Vote anticipated in February on bill with Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (January 22, 2018)
Cronkite News: White Mountain Apache water bill sidetracked in partisan fight (January 12, 2018)
Republicans stir drama by reviving contentious Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (January 11, 2018)

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