Legislative Band-Aids Won’t Fix the NLRA

The House will vote on the Jobs Protection from Government Interference Act today. Sponsor Rep. Tim Scott and other representatives of Congress have proposed numerous bills to amend the National Labor Relations Act in response to the NLRB and Boeing lawsuit. The litany of Band-Aid bills attempting to fix bad legislation with slightly better legislation does not achieve labor reform. Congress has missed the root of the problem of labor law in the U.S.: the NLRA. True labor reform cannot happen when an unelected board with a Big Labor agenda interprets the laws governing labor relations.

In the 112th Congress, the Secret Ballot Protection ActH.R. 2118State Right to Vote Act, and Jobs Protection from Government Interference Act have been proposed. Reining in the NLRB and amending the NLRA is the sole purpose of all these proposed bills.

To have four bills proposed in the first half of the Congressional session to amend one act makes it the clear the need for repeal not amendments. There is no amount of legislation that can undo the bias of the NLRA and the NLRB toward organized labor.

Republican lawmakers cite the financial crisis and unemployment for the need to amend the NLRA. Indeed, unemployment and lack of job creation has put a spotlight on the job killing actions of the NLRB. However, the proposed bills do not achieve a level playing field between the employer, employee, and union boss or create certainty for the business community to invest in the U.S.

Even with the passage of the entire package of legislation to amend the NLRA, the law still leans toward the union boss. Highlighting the ineffectiveness of this legislative push is the Jobs Protection from Government Interference Act. The Education & the Workforce Committee website states:

House Republicans are advancing legislation that will prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from dictating where a private employer can and cannot create jobs. Critics of the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587) have touted bogus rhetoric in an attempt to discredit this sensible reform. The Education and the Workforce Committee is committed to supporting America’s workers and separating the myths from the facts.

Allowing private employers to dictate where they create jobs is not achieved by the legislation, as shown from another statement from the Education & the Workforce Committee:

The NLRB has more than a dozen significant remedies at its disposal to protect workers and hold employers accountable. Current remedies include awarding back pay and offering preferential employment opportunities to workers who may have lost their jobs. The Republican legislation preserves these strong worker protections, while recognizing that forcing a business to shut down and lay off its employees is not an acceptable option for today’s workforce.

Employers and employees will continue to be punished for business decisions that the NLRB deems unfair to unions with or without the passage of the new legislation. U.S. labor law is skewed to the point that third parties (NLRB and unions), who have no investment or stake in business, can control the actions of business. Until the NLRA is repealed, an employer is not protected from making financially responsible choices. As quoted above, there still will be plenty of penalties the NLRB can impose on employers for making a business decision.