He says a Republican bill introduced after the NLRB’s complaint, which accuses the aviation giant of retaliating against workers for exercising their legal rights,
is sweeping legislation that would gut the National Labor Relations Act and result in serious harmful changes to jobs and workers’ rights throughout the country.
Trumka, Pat Bertucci, a Machinists (IAM) member and third generation Boeing worker, and University of Texas law professor Jack Getman took part in a telephone press conference today to set the record straight on the Republican House bill (H.R. 2587) that would cripple the NLRB’s ability to protect workers.
The NLRB charges that Boeing moved production away from its Washington State facility in retaliation for the workers exercising their right to strike, and that’s against the law.
The Republican bill would take away the NLRB’s authority to remedy unlawful conduct like Boeing is alleged to have engaged in. H.R. 2587 would apply to cases currently being considered, including the legal action against Boeing. It would allow corporations to freely retaliate against workers by transferring, subcontracting or offshoring jobs. For example, says Trumka:
If a group of workers walk 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 and 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.
Bertucci says, “I’m not willing to sacrifice a right that goes back generations so that Boeing has an advantage. I’d like to see my daughter have the same opportunity as I did … If this bill passes, every American’s right to be in a union will be threatened.”
In a separate press conference today, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) said by removing the NLRB’s ability to hold corporations like Boeing accountable, the Republican bill would allow a “disastrous race to the bottom for American workers’ rights, wages, benefits and working conditions.”
These attacks are designed to remove a vital check on corporate power overrunning our democracy. Working families don’t need smaller paychecks. And workers don’t need fewer protections on the job. But that’s what they will get if this bill becomes law.
So, this is my question: Will the Republican leadership work with us to create good jobs in this country and give Americans the opportunity to get ahead in this economy, or will they continue to only help those who are already ahead.
In South Carolina today, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney—who holds personal investments in Boeing—outlined his so-called labor policy and threw his support behind the Republican bill to cripple the NLRB. He also dispelled any lingering notion that he might not be as extreme and radically right wing as the other candidates when he called the members of the NLRB “labor stooges.”
South Carolina AFL-CIO President Donna Dewitt had a few choice words of her own for Romney.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney seems more interested in scoring cheap political points for his election bid and supporting Boeing than in talking with working families in Charleston about their concerns for the creation of family-sustaining jobs.
Throughout his campaign, Romney has shown that his priorities lie with corporations and the rich, not working people in South Carolina or across the country. Whether it is calling corporations “people” in Iowa or defending law-breaker Boeing at the expense of South Carolina workers here today, multimillionaire Romney has continued to prove he is out of touch with the struggles facing working families in America.
This entry originally appeared at the AFL-CIO Now Blog.