The purpose of the National Labor Relations Act is to promote the full flow of commerce, to prescribe the legitimate rights of employees and employers in their relations affecting commerce and to protect the rights of the public in connection with labor disputes affecting commerce.
In others words, the act is supposed to strike a proper balance among the rights of employees, employers and the public.
You would never know it from the recent actions of the National Labor Relations Board. Under the guise of enforcing the law, the NLRB has become purely a sycophant for labor unions.
At a time when union membership is at a historic low, the NLRB seeks to give unions a historically unprecedented level of influence. Indeed, despite Congressional intent and clear Supreme Court jurisprudence, union leadership and unelected NLRB attorneys are seeking to become managing partners in the business affairs of American companies.
Exhibit A is the NLRB’s recent interaction with the Boeing Co. and the state of South Carolina.
Boeing has made airplanes in Washington state for several decades. During that time, at least four work stoppages have threatened Boeing’s ability to deliver airplanes in a timely fashion — prompting crucial customers to question the prudence of continuing a business relationship with Boeing.
So Boeing did what any responsible company would do. It looked to see whether there were other places to start a new, separate and distinct line of work on the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner. After an extensive search, taking into account a wide array of legally permissible factors, the company settled on Charleston, S.C.
Not one single union employee suffered a detriment as a result of Boeing’s decision. Not one union employee lost a job or was denied a benefit. To the contrary, union jobs have been added in Washington since the new South Carolina facility was announced.
Despite these uncontested facts, the union took offense and found a willing ally in the NLRB, which filed a complaint against Boeing.
Lay aside the demonstrably false allegations of the complaint. And lay aside the unprecedented legal analysis. Through its complaint, the NLRB is trying to force Boeing to shut down its South Carolina plant and return to Washington — that is the legal remedy that the agency seeks.
That is why we have introduced the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act. At a time when more than 14 million Americans are unemployed, government must guarantee companies the flexibility to make sound business decisions designed to create jobs, increase investment and keep production capabilities right here at home.
Under current law, the NLRB has more than a dozen remedies at its disposal to hold employers accountable for unlawful labor practices. Our legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act to eliminate the availability of the extreme, punitive remedy that the NLRB is seeking in the Boeing case.
This bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from dictating where private businesses can and cannot locate jobs in the United States — prohibit the NLRB from ordering an employer, such as Boeing, to relocate, shut down or transfer employment under any circumstance.
In these tough times, elected officials should be empowering American businesses with pro-growth policies, not empowering unelected bureaucrats at the behest of Big Labor.
If we continue down the current regulatory path, companies will no longer be deciding whether to locate new work in Washington or South Carolina. They will be having serious conversations about whether to continue doing business in the United States.
Job creators across America face myriad challenges stemming from our country’s economic struggles.
These hardworking citizens deserve freedom from government interference as they seek to innovate, grow and expand, not a reactionary bureaucracy handcuffing their ability to make reasonable business decisions.
They are the way out of our fiscal malaise, and we are doing everything in our power support them.
Reps. Trey Gowdy and Tim Scott are South Carolina Republicans. Scott serves on the Rules Committee. Gowdy is a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, and the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.