Can Government Tell an Employer Where to Locate?

Posted by Mike Rudman on Jul 21, 2011 1:41:00 PM

Should the government have the authority to tell a private employer where to operate its business?

National Labor Relations BoardThe National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) apparently thinks so, and that’s why Associated Industries of Massachusetts will next week express the support of Bay State employers for the new Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act (HR 2587). The measure, introduced this morning by House Republicans, would prohibit the NLRB from dictating where a private business can and cannot locate jobs in the United States.

Introduction of the bill comes three months after the NLRB filed a complaint against The Boeing Company for creating work in South Carolina and demanded that the work be transferred to Puget Sound, Washington. If successful, the NLRB’s action may destroy an estimated 1,000 South Carolina jobs and have a chilling effect on job creators across the country.

AIM will join business organizations from throughout the country in signing a letter urging Congress to approve the Protecting Jobs Act to blunt the “all-out attack on business” being mounted by the NLRB and the U.S. Department of Labor. That offensive includes measures to limit the time employers have to respond to union organizing elections, a “gag rule” that would require employers to disclose when they use labor consultants and a pending case that would reverse decades of established law by permitting micro-unions.

“No government board should have the authority to tell a private employer where it can run a business” said Minnesota Republican Representative John Kline, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“Yet, as the Boeing dispute has made disturbingly clear, the National Labor Relations Board is empowered to override the business decisions of American employers. It would be irresponsible for Congress to stand by and watch as this threat to job creation undermines the strength of our economy.”

The NLRB has more than a dozen remedies at its disposal under current law to hold employers accountable for unlawful labor practices, including the authority to order a private company to relocate or transfer existing or planned employment. The new legislation amends the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit the NLRB from ordering any employer to relocate, shut down, or transfer employment under any circumstance. The limitation on the NLRB’s authority will apply to all cases that have not reached final adjudication before the board.

AIM and other employer groups are urging the House of Representatives to vote on the Protecting Jobs Bill before the August recess.

The federal complaint against Boeing comes as unions frustrated by Congress’ decision not to pass the Employee Free Choice Act or the Paycheck Fairness Act turn increasingly to the NLRB and other regulatory agencies to reverse what they view as a hostile atmosphere for organizing new members. Labor has suffered years of membership declines in the private sector, where just 7.2 percent of employees belong to a union.


Topics: Employment Law, U.S. House of Representatives, National Labor Relations Board

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