WASHINGTON — The House Education and Workforce Committee is set to consider today Chairman John Kline’s bill quashing a summer National Labor Relations Board ruling allowing for quick union elections.
The bill will be the second piece of NLRB legislation the Minnesota Republican’s committee has considered and passed as a part of House Republican’s jobs agenda, which consists of repealing government regulations in order to provide more stability for companies to hire workers.
Kline noted the first of those bills — which prevents the NLRB from ordering companies to relocate jobs across state lines — in a district newsletter his office sent out Monday night.
“After the Boeing Company spent $1 billion building a plant and hiring thousands of workers in South Carolina, the NLRB sought to force the transfer of work to a unionized facility in Washington state,” he wrote. “When sharing thoughts of the federal government’s increasingly intrusive footprint into the private sector, [a] small business owner said, ‘I have to watch my back so I don’t get shot in the butt.'”
That bill joined many of those passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to see no action in the Democrat-controlled Senate (Republican leadership began dubbing a set of those bills “the Forgotten 15” this week). The NLRB bill Kline’s committee will mark up today is likely to follow the same script — win committee approval, pass the House, and stall in Senate.
On Kline’s bill, Education and Workforce Committee Democrats argue it opens the door for long delays to union elections through legislative mandates and incentives for companies to pursue legal action. They’ve giving the bill the moniker, “The Election Prevention Act.”
More broadly, Democrats are united in arguing that repealing regulatory matters like NLRB rulings aren’t the right path to economic recovery. In interviews Monday, two Education and the Workforce Democrats said consumers’ weak purchasing power, not government regulations, are preventing recovery.
“The regulation stuff is interesting, but that’s not what the problem is,” said George Miller of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
“It’s almost like, you get to the shopping mall and the mall is burning down, and there is water flooding all through the mall, and there is one car in the parking lot with a dead battery,” said Robert Andrews, the lead Democrat on the subcommittee dealing with labor issues. “So they all rush over to jump the car with a dead battery, but they let the mall burn down. That’s kind of what I think they’re doing.”
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry