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The Hill reported today that the House of Representatives has passed a bill to limit the power of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to dictate to a American company where it can expand its manufacturing.
The article reports:
The House approved H.R. 2587 in a 238-186 vote in which eight Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the bill and seven Republicans voted against it.
The bill is a response to the NLRB’s decision to sue Boeing after it opened a manufacturing plant for its new 787 Dreamliner jet in South Carolina. The NLRB is charging that the plane manufacturer picked South Carolina for new production in order to retaliate against strikes by its unionized workers in Washington state. South Carolina is a right-to-work state that generally bans union membership.
It is ironic that it would have been less complicated for Boeing to move its plant out of the country. That kind of government interference costs American jobs.
It is understood that the bill has little chance of passing in the Senate, but Republicans want a public vote in the Senate on the issue.
The article further reports:
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the bill would put real limits on the right of workers to bargain collectively. He said the bill would allow companies to say to workers, “Yeah, you have the right to bargain collectively, but if we don’t like what you’re doing, we’re taking a hike.”
Trade associations have lent their significant lobbying weight in support of the bill. Both the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told lawmakers that they would score votes on the bill.
Conservative activist groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, also have pushed for passage of the bill.
Unions are in opposition, saying the legislation will gut worker protections and undermine the NLRB’s legal authority.
I don’t know when the NLRB was given the power to tell companies where in the United States they could do business, but I do believe that it is time to take that power away. If corporations cannot meet union demands and still make a profit, they should be free to relocate where unions are not an issue. That used to happen in this country–one of the reasons the textile industry moved out of New England to the southeastern states in the 1950′s was that the southern textile plants were cheaper to operate because they were not unionized. When did companies lose that freedom?