House Republicans upped the ante in their fight against the National labour Relations Board, passing a bill that would strip the agency of most of its enforcement power.
The bill prohibits the NLRB from ordering an employer to shut down plants or relocate — a direct affront to the NLRB’s contentious law suit against Boeing. The suit alleges that the airline manufacturer punished union workers by opening a new plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, and demands that the company to relocate its new production line.
The Boeing case has become a flashpoint for Republican lawmakers, who have used it to rally the business community in support of weakening the labour agency. Since filing the suit, the NLRB has issued a spate of pro-union decisions that have further riled Republican lawmakers and union critics.
Republicans heralded today’s vote as a victory for private business and job creation:
“Today the House voted to remove another obstacle to private-sector job creation and long-term economic growth,” Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. “It’s absurd that the federal government would stop American employers from creating new jobs here at home when millions are out of work and the unemployment rate exceeds nine per cent. Under this Administration, American companies are free to create jobs in China but they aren’t free to create them in South Carolina.”
Passage of the bill is largely symbolic, however, as the legislation has little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. Democrats say the measure will render the NLRB powerless, while giving companies free rein to punish workers for organising.
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