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NLRB: Dems say toMAYto, Boehner says toMAHto

By Josh Richman
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 3:23 pm in economy, George Miller, John Boehner, Labor politics, Lynn Woolsey, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.

Ah, where would we be without all the glorious political rhetoric in Congress? What’s that, you say… “making actual progress?” Oh, but that would take all the fun out of it.

Today’s case in point: The House today voted 238-186 to pass HR 2587, the “Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act.” The bill would limit the National Labor Relations Board’s authority by preventing the board from “ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.” As the Washington Post puts it:

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.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, the Education and the Workforce Committee’s ranking Democrat, issued a news release saying the bill would remove the only meaningful legal remedy available to workers if a company illegally moves operations or eliminates work because workers engage in protected activities like forming a union or collective bargaining.

“The Republican bill sends a message to employers to retaliate against employees who may demand a piece of the American dream,” Miller said. “We should be working to create jobs, not send American jobs overseas. We should be working to strengthen the middle class, not tear it down. We should be working together to send the message that, during these most difficult economic times, Congress is on the side of the middle class.”

Miller said that under this bill, if a company closes an entire U.S. plant or part of a U.S. plant and moved the work to China because the U.S. employees organized a union, the NLRB no longer would have the power to order the work to be kept in or returned to the U.S. Republicans voted down an amendment that would have let the NLRB return jobs to America that were illegally sent overseas.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, spoke against the bill today on the House floor:

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says… toMAHto!

“Today the House voted to remove another obstacle to private-sector job creation and long-term economic growth. This bill blocks the federal government’s National Labor Relations Board from telling businesses where they can and can’t create new jobs,” Boehner said. “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 percent. Under this Administration, American companies are free to create jobs in China but they aren’t free to create them in South Carolina. I’m hopeful that the Senate will join us in taking swift action, and help give American job creators the certainty they need to plan and put Americans back to work.”

Despite Boehner’s “hopeful” demeanor, the Democrat-dominated Senate is likely to kill the bill deader than a doornail.

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  • John W

    As a Democrat and a former Seattle resident who fully appreciates what Boeing means to the Puget Sound economy, I’m embarrassed at the NLRB’s actions. Is there any precedent for government telling a company that it can’t open a plant in another state, regardless of motive? Could this possibly stand up in court? By what statutory authority did the NLRB rule? States take jobs from other states all the time. John Boehner was on CNBC today and put it this way: “a company can move a factory to China, but it can’t move to another state?” I’m no fan of Boehner, but methinks the man has a point.

  • Elwood

    Employers have shut down or moved factories for a variety of reasons, including union intransigence, for a long time. This is nothing new.

    What’s new is the socialist O’bummer administration.

    The NLRB is out of its collective mind.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Here’s a quick quiz: When was the last time the NLRB ruled in favor of an employer over a union?

  • KB

    They didn’t “move” anything. All plants in Washington are still there, and Boeing has hired 2,000 more union workers in Washington since this started with additional product lines. When deciding where to open a NEW Dreamliner facility, they chose SC. No union members lost jobs. You can’t force a company to open a new facility where YOU want it to. They can open new plants wherever they want. At least this one was in the US and not some other country.

  • Publius

    The terms Middle Class and American worker are not synonyomous with collective bargaining and union rights. Miller loves to push the union agenda using the Middle Class and the American worker as human shields. The fact that this reasonable bill is “DOA” in tne Senate is another example of Democrats obstructing job creation and forcing American jobs over seas. Union yes, job creation and strengthening the middle class NO.

  • John W

    Re: #3 “When was the last time the NLRB ruled in favor of an employer…”

    Is this “quiz” a rhetorical question, or is there an answer?

  • John W

    “The terms Middle Class and American worker are not synonymous with collective bargaining and union rights.”

    Historically, unions played a major role in creating a broad middle class. We’re now in a different time (post-industrial and globalization), with both the middle class and unions in steep decline. Unions represent only about 7 percent of private sector workers. Public sector unions are a whole ‘nother subject and make me head explode #@$%!