A bill that would strip some power from the National Labor Relations Board because of its lawsuit against Boeing over union workers passed a congressional committee Thursday and will soon head to the full House.
The House Education and Workforce Committee voted 23-16 on the "Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act" introduced by U.S. Rep. Tim Scott this week.
The act is designed to "prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any employer to relocate, shut down, or transfer employment under any circumstance."
"The ... act takes a critical step to provide employers with the certainty they need to put Americans back to work, right here at home," said committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., in a statement after the vote.
The bill is in response to the lawsuit the NLRB filed in April against Boeing, accusing the aerospace company of building a nonunion production facility in North Charleston as retaliation against union workers in Washington state for past strikes. The North Charleston facility is not unionized.
The NLRB complaint asks that Boeing be ordered to operate a second 787 Dreamliner production line in Washington state, with union workers.
Scott and other Republicans have bashed the NLRB complaint as an incursion on right-to-work states and private decisions about where to locate production facilities.
"I want to thank Chairman Kline and the committee for moving swiftly on this important legislation," Scott said after the vote. He said he looks forward to the bill coming before the full House for a vote soon.
Spokesman Sean Smith said Scott is hopeful that the bill will be brought up for a vote by the House of Representatives next week.
"We can no longer allow big government to stand in the way of our job creators," Scott said.
Democrats have countered that the NLRB is only upholding federal law, which forbids employers from punishing workers who join unions or stage a strike.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, labeled the bill as "very reckless and partisan" in a statement Thursday.
"This legislation is draconian. It is offensive to anyone who cares about workers' rights," Miller said. "This bill presents American workers with a choice: you can have your rights or you can have your job."
He went on to say that the bill would make it easier to ship jobs overseas, make runaway shops legal and provide employers with a loophole for firing workers who try to unionize. "This bill is bad news for America, bad news for workers, and it is bad news for the middle class," Miller said.
Reach Derek Legette at 937-5519.