Bloomberg Law
Dec. 23, 2022, 7:09 PM

Congress Passes Omnibus Bill With Worker Protections, NLRB Funds

Diego Areas Munhoz
Diego Areas Munhoz
Hill Reporter

Congress passed a bipartisan omnibus package that includes greater workplace rights for certain types of employees and more funding for the federal labor board, capping off a legislative year of worker-friendly measures amid increasing unionization efforts.

The House on Friday voted 225-201, with one Democrat voting present, to pass a $1.7 trillion government funding bill that had cleared the Senate the day before. The package, which funds the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2023, includes provisions that expand workplace protections for pregnant and nursing employees and a bump in funding for the National Labor Relations Board.

Beyond the omnibus package, a bill nullifying mandatory arbitration agreements for workers alleging sexual harassment or assault passed in February, while Biden earlier this month signed legislation to nix some nondisclosure agreements for workers making similar claims.

Congressional leadership had been under pressure from advocacy groups and lawmakers of both parties to include labor elements in the funding package.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065) and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658) had stalled in the Senate since 2021, when both measures passed the House.

NLRB leaders for months told lawmakers that the agency could face employee furloughs if its funding level isn’t increased.

  • The PWFA would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers who need lighter duty or other arrangements. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) offered the legislation as an amendment to the omnibus package Thursday.
  • The PUMP Act expands protections for nursing parents who need a private lactation space and certain break times during work. The air, rail, and motor coach industries lobbied against the bill because of potential business disruptions. But they received certain exemptions in the amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and adopted Thursday.
  • The NLRB’s $25 million funding increase, less that what the White House requested, was included in the omnibus package text released earlier this week. The boost will likely avoid furloughs, but some labor leaders say it’s not enough to handle the 53% increase in union representation petitions filed in fiscal year 2022.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diego Areas Munhoz in Washington, D.C. at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Laura D. Francis at; Rebekah Mintzer at

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