By Ray Beckerman
Man's inhumanity to man and other living things threatens the whole human experiment. Let's fight it, and try to build a future.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Is Boeing above the law? ~ @AFLCIO
Congress is back, but House Republicans are saying no to creating jobs.
Instead, they are rushing to pass legislation that would let the Boeing Co. off the hook for its alleged violations of labor law. They’ve combined this get-out-of-jail-free card for Boeing with vicious attacks on workers’ rights.
Pop quiz: What would happen if H.R. 2587—a bill that House Republicans plan to bring up for a vote as early as this Thursday—became law?
A. It would eliminate any remedy for alleged law-breaking by the Boeing Co.—which is accused of moving aircraft production away from its Washington State facility in retaliation for workers exercising their legal rights—before an ongoing trial can finish.
B. It would gut our labor laws, so a company can never again face meaningful punishment for moving jobs to retaliate against workers who engage in perfectly legal behavior.
C. It would show that a company with the right politician friends is above the law.
Back in April, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—the federal agency tasked with protecting workers’ rights—took a routine step: enforcing a law that’s been on the books for more than 70 years.
In America, no company is above the law. And on some things, the law is clear. For example, a company cannot retaliate against workers for exercising their legal rights by moving their jobs.
When Boeing moved aircraft production away from its Washington State facility after workers exercised their legal right to strike, the board did its job: it investigated. And after examining the facts, the NLRB’s general counsel charged that Boeing illegally retaliated against its workers.
Rather than let the NLRB do its job, House Republicans are trying to let Boeing off the hook before their trial even finishes. They’ve already tried to interfere with the NLRB’s investigation and even threatened the agency’s general counsel. Now, they’re trying to pass a bill that both lets Boeing off the hook for alleged violations of workers’ rights and makes sweeping changes to the National Labor Relations Act that would result in serious, harmful changes to jobs and workers’ rights throughout the country.
Congress should be finding ways to work with the president to create jobs. But partisanship, led by tea party Republicans, has so dominated our national debate that many of our elected leaders are willing to ruin our economy to grab headlines and attention.
Instead of taking up bills that create jobs, House Republicans are once again pursuing a destructive political agenda. Of the many casualties, workers’ rights have climbed to the top of the list. It’s time for this to stop.
P.S. Here are just two examples of what life would look like for workers under the Republicans’ plan:
If a group of workers walked out of a plant because of unsafe working conditions, the company could decide to move the work and the jobs rather than fix the problem, and the NLRB would be powerless to protect the workers or their jobs.
If a group of women or African Americans joined together to protest race or sex discrimination by their employer, the company could simply transfer the work somewhere else, and the NLRB would be powerless to protect the workers.