Ramming Legislation Through…. – National Consumers League

By Michell K. McIntyre, Project Director of NCL’s Special Project on Wage Theft

As a child, when something doesn’t go our way we may pout, throw a tantrum and sometimes even break our toys.  As a teenager we may slam the door or walk out, but as an adult, we’re supposed to suck it up and deal. But what do members of Congress do when something doesn’t go their way?

In the case of a few Republican members of the House, you respond by creating a piece of legislation that guts an independent federal agency and strips away the rights of American workers. When the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled against Boeing for moving their plant from Washington state to South Carolina as retaliation to union workers in Washington, these members crafted H.R. 2587, “Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act,” as a way to protect Boeing and other Fortune 500 companies from facing the consequences when they trample on their employees’ rights.

“The legislation (H.R. 2587) is nothing more than a rush to protect one special interest to the determent of all American workers,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  “The bill presents American workers with a choice: you can have your rights or you can have your job.  But you can’t have both.”

H.R. 2587 would remove the only meaningful remedy available to workers if a company illegally moves operations or eliminates work because workers engaged in protected activities such as organizing a union.  An employer can outsource for any reason, except for an unlawful reason.  Retailing against workers for exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act is one unlawful reason.

“These rights to organize and collectively bargain are meaningless if there is no effective remedy when they are violated,” said Miller.  “The impact of this change would be wide-ranging.”

H.R. 2587 was pushed through the House Education and the Workforce Committee last week by a party line vote in less than 48 hours after it was introduced and is expected to be up for a full House this week.  If passed by the House, the Senate will hopefully put a stop to this troubling and dangerous piece of legislation.

It’s time that ALL Members of Congress stop acting like children and act like the adults they’re supposed to be. After all, they were elected to uphold the Constitution, protect American workers and serve their constituents—not to protect and serve the special interests’ of Fortune 500s.