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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Labor groups push to end tax breaks for union-busting

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Monday, October 23, 2023   

New federal legislation would prevent companies from getting a tax break for engaging in what are often illegal union-busting tactics.

Labor groups say companies spend millions of dollars on hired consultants who threaten workers with termination for exercising their right to unionize, then claim the cost of those consultants as a standard business tax write-off.

Elena Lopez, senior legislative specialist for the Communications Workers of America, said as workers are organizing for better wages and working conditions, taxpayers are subsidizing the efforts to stop them.

"Companies are actively breaking the law," Lopez asserted. "And they're being rewarded for breaking the law."

Lopez pointed out workers do not get a tax break for their union dues, and companies' anti-union campaigns should also be classified as non-tax-deductible, the same as lobbying or corporate political speech.

Labor advocates say the legislation to change the tax code builds on the public's growing approval of unions, now at a 50-year high.

Steve Striffler, director of the Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, said the pandemic highlighted the struggles of many essential workers and the country's extreme income inequality.

"I think working people realized how exposed they were -- often how little employers seemed to care about their safety, and their general well-being -- as workplaces shut down," Striffler observed. "In other cases, the work itself became sort-of very dangerous."

Striffler added efforts to organize workers at various Starbucks and Trader Joe's locations in Massachusetts are part of the nationwide trend in union growth. Changing the tax code would not alleviate all the challenges to workers, he said, but could help level the playing field.

Disclosure: Communications Workers of America contributes to our fund for reporting on Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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