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Conyers’ Bill Protecting Workers And Retirees Passes Judiciary Panel

(Washington) Today, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law passed H.R. 4677, the "Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2010," by a roll call vote of 8-4.

"H.R. 4677 is urgently needed to protect the jobs, benefits, and retirement plans that provide for many of our working class families," Conyers said. "These reforms will provide transparency to the bankruptcy process and change the Bankruptcy Code so that executives must accept the same cuts in wages, benefits, and pensions that they ask of their workers. It's time to level the playing field and eliminate the abuse of our bankruptcy laws so we can have a better ending, not the same old story."

H.R. 4677 will make the following reforms:

  • Makes it tougher to reject collective bargaining agreements.
  • Prevents companies from protecting management retiree health benefits while slashing everyone else's.
  • Allows workers to assert claims for losses in certain defined contribution plans when such losses result from employer fraud or breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Prioritizes the payment of workers' severance pay.
  • Clarifies that back pay awarded via WARN Act damages are entitled to the same priority as back pay for other legal violations.

Amongst the other bills that passed in this morning's subcommittee markup were H.R. 1521, the "Cell Tax Fairness Act of 2009", which passed by unanimous consent and H.R. 5043, the " Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2010," which passed by a roll call vote of 6-3.


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