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House Passes Bill to Weaken NLRB's Ability to Enforce Labor Laws

September 15, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

In a move designed to get corporations jazzed up about donating to Republican candidates and not much else, the House of Representatives today passed a bill to weaken the National Labor Relations Board, which is in charge of enforcing the labor laws and remedying instances of unfair labor practices. The bill, which its sponsor, Rep. Tim Scott [R, SC-1], has titled the “Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act,” would amend the labor laws so that employers could legally take retaliation against workers trying to form a union by relocating or outsourcing their jobs. The vote was 238-186.

Specifically, here’s what the bill would do according to the Congressional Research Service:

Amends the National Labor Relations Act to deny the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) any power to:

(1) order an employer (or seek an order against an employer) to restore or reinstate any work, product, production line, or equipment;

(2) rescind any relocation, transfer, subcontracting, outsourcing, or other change regarding the location, entity, or employer who shall be engaged in production or other business operations; or

(3) require any employer to make an initial or additional investment at a particular plant, facility, or location. Applies the amendment made by this Act to any complaint for which a final adjudication by the NLRB has not been made by the date of enactment.

And here’s what it’s all about, via 2chambers:

At the heart of the House measure is a months-long dispute over whether Boeing unlawfully retaliated against its union employees in Washington state by transferring a production facility to South Carolina after a series of strikes. The NLRB in April ruled that by moving the facility to a right-to-work state, Boeing was in violation of federal labor laws.

According to Kevin Bogardus at The Hill, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has already said that Reid has no plans to bring the bill to a vote in the Senate. Like I said at the top of the post, getting the bill through the Senate and signed into law isn’t the point anyways. The point is to appeal to anti-union corporate campaign donors, and that appears to be working. Maplight.org has already identified 191 businesses and business associations that are actively supporting the bill and donating to congressional incumbents.

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