by Jeremy Leaming
The Right’s ongoing assault on workers’ rights is not contained to states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. As noted on ACSblog on numerous occasions, lawmakers in Congress, such as Reps. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Sen. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have been working feverishly to undercut the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), primarily because of the independent agency’s complaint that the aerospace company Boeing has violated federal law by moving production of its Dreamliner jet from Washington state to South Carolina. The NLRB’s complaint cites public comments from top Boeing officials that the move was made to avoid any potential strikes by employees in Washington. The NLRB, charged with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), says it is illegal to retaliate against workers for engaging in lawful conduct.
But while that complaint is being heard by an administrative law judge, the Right, beholden to large corporate interests, has waged a campaign to scuttle the NLRB’s efforts to function.
Now Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is pushing a bill in the House that would strip the NLRB of its authority to enforce provisions the NLRA intended to protect workers from corporate malfeasance.
Specifically Rep. Scott’s bill, which is being considered today by the House Education and Workforce Committee, would bar the NLRB from requiring corporations to return work to a particular factory or job site if it were determined that the corporations moved those jobs in retaliation against workers who engage in lawful activity, like striking.
If the bill were to become law it would, of course, scuttle the case that is currently proceeding against Boeing Corp., and hobble the NLRB’s efforts to protect millions of other workers nationwide from corporations that strive to limit their ability to bargain for fair wages and benefits.
It’s not surprising that the corporate lobbyists, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are behind the Right’s relentless efforts to trash the NLRB. In a press release from Rep. John Kline, chairman of the Education & Workforce Committee, trumpeting today’s consideration of the NLRB-busting bill, the Chamber urges cutting the agency’s ability to enforce federal labor law in order to protect investment in “U.S. facilities.”
In a guest post for ACSblog, Professor Ellen Dannin slams the “wild claims” that have been lobbed at the NLRB’s complaint against Boeing. “If you listened to Congress’ version of the events,” Dannin writes, “you would think that the NLRB has become the major threat to the economic life of this country.”
“Of course,” Dannin continues, “none of this is true. In fact, it is just Plane Nonsense.”