With two unprecedented moves, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has struck against private industry in as many weeks. The first was a complaint issued late last week against Boeing for moving some of its production lines to South Carolina, a right to work state. The NLRB claims this move violates national labor laws by hindering the union workers’ right to strike in Washington State, where much of Boeing’s production line is based. This is the first time in history the NLRB has argued that a company is violating federal law simply based on where they choose to locate a factory.
“It is an unprecedented overreach of power by the National Labor Relations Board to attempt to regulate where a private company can open a factory and it sets a dangerous precedent that will affect all right to work states, like the state of Georgia,” stated Westmoreland. “It tells companies they may be punished for attempting to do business in right to work states with expensive, drawn-out legal battles, discouraging them from expanding into states like Georgia. This in turn punishes states like Georgia who choose not to force employees to unionize. Under no circumstance does the federal government have the authority to tell companies where they can operate their business. This is a substantial departure from current law and will have far reaching ramifications beyond this specific case with Boeing in South Carolina.”
The second move came just yesterday when the NLRB informed the attorneys general of Arizona and South Dakota that it will file lawsuits against the states challenging their new constitutional amendments requiring workers hold secret ballot elections to form unions. South Carolina and Utah have enacted similar laws in response to Congressional Democrats and the White House’s attempts to enact the controversial ‘Card Check’ legislation, which would outlaw the use of secret ballots to form labor unions. Without the use of secret ballots, unions can intimidate employees who choose not to support them or retaliate against them if the union is formed. The NLRB informed South Carolina and Utah to expect similar action in the near future.
“I am absolutely outraged by the National Labor Relations Board’s attempt to circumvent Congress and basically enact the ‘Card Check’ law adamantly opposed by the American people,” stated Westmoreland. “Liberal Democrats in Washington have been unable to get this payoff to their biggest campaign supporters – labor unions – passed in the last two and a half years, so now they are going to skirt the legislative process and have President Obama’s head union czar implement ‘Card Check’ behind the backs of the American people. It’s appalling and clearly is a political move by the NLRB and the Obama Administration to pay back the labor unions who helped elect him to the White House.”
These two moves come after the very controversial appointment of Craig Becker as the head of the NLRB. Becker was repeatedly rebuffed for appointment by the Senate because of his ties to unions and his position as an attorney for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In a move to sidestep the constitutional authority of the Senate to approve of the president’s appointments, President Obama gave Becker a recess appointment while Congress was out of session in March 2010. The attorneys general in all four states have vowed to fight this overreach by the NLRB, as has Boeing.