South Carolina Republican freshman Rep. Tim Scott has introduced legislation that would strip the National Labor Relations Board of some of its power, and would specifically “prohibit the NLRB from ordering any employer to relocate, shut down, or transfer employment under any circumstance.”
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is scheduled to take up the “Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act” Thursday morning. The bill comes in response to a complaint the NLRB filed in April against Boeing Corp., accusing the aerospace giant of retaliating against union workers in Washington state by building a nonunion production facility in North Charleston.
The top Democrat on the House committee calls the legislation the “Eviscerate Workers’ Rights and Ship Jobs Overseas” bill.
Some Republican lawmakers and business groups have attacked the NLRB complaint against Boeing as an intrusion into private decisions about where to locate production facilities, and an attack on right-to-work states. Labor groups and some Democrats have said the NLRB is simply enforcing the law, which bans employers from punishing workers who join unions or stage a strike.
The NLRB suit claims Boeing officials stated they would build a facility outside Washington state because of past strikes there, and calls on Boeing to build another assembly line in Washington state.
“No government board should have the authority to tell a private employer where it can run a business,” said House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN), in a prepared statement. “Yet, as the Boeing dispute has made disturbingly clear, the National Labor Relations Board is empowered to override the business decisions of American employers.”
He called the legislation a commonsense proposal to fix a flaw in federal labor policy.
“If the NLRB is allowed to continue down this path, not only will the economy in my home state of South Carolina be affected, but the entire national economy as well,” said Scott.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the bill would damage workers’ rights.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Republicans have chosen to take such reckless action, ramming a far-reaching bill through committee in less than 48 hours without a hearing,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “A quick first read indicates that the Republican bill will make it easier to play American workers against each other in a race to the bottom and even easier to ship American jobs overseas. It would create an open season for CEOs to punish workers for exercising their rights.”
Reach David Slade at 937-5552.