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May 17, 2011

National Labor Relations Board: Putting Politics Before the Needs of the American People

[Page: H3224]  GPO's PDF 

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Duncan) for 5 minutes.

Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, the recent unprecedented action by the National Labor Relations Board is simply the latest example of this administration putting politics before the needs of the American people. I honestly never thought I would see the day when our government sued a company over creating jobs in South Carolina or anywhere in the United States. The NLRB's position violates States' 10th Amendment liberties and attempts to roll back worker protections for the purpose of satisfying special interests and union bosses.

The NLRB was created to protect workers' rights, but now the worker is left out of the equation in favor of big unions. I ask, what about the workers in South Carolina who lose out in this action? Where have their rights been considered in all of this nonsense? In fact, the National Labor Relations Act says in section 1 that the purpose of the NLRA is ``to promote the full flow of commerce, to prescribe the legitimate rights of both employees and employers in their relations affecting commerce, to provide orderly and peaceful procedures for preventing the interference by either with the legitimate rights of the other, to protect the rights of individual employees in their relations with labor organizations whose activities affect commerce, to define and proscribe practices on the part of labor and management which affect commerce and are inimical to the general welfare, and to protect the rights of the public in connection with labor disputes affecting commerce.''

The NLRB's ruling comes on the heels of previous threats by this radically out-of-touch panel to sue States like South Carolina for constitutionally protecting one of America's most universal freedoms, the right to a secret ballot. Fear that the Federal Government might take away that fundamental principle prompted voters in South Carolina, Arizona, South Dakota, and Utah to overwhelmingly support adding secret ballot protection to their State constitutions. If the NLRB hadn't already made a big enough mockery of individual freedom, they even refused to come to the negotiation table and talk about their concerns with States' attorneys general unless they were willing to first sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from sharing what was discussed during the meetings.

Demanding secret meetings, threats, and attacking the right to a secret ballot doesn't exactly create a good track record for the National Labor Relations Board. That's what prompted me to introduce House Resolution 1047, the State Right to Vote Act, which would stop the NLRB from suing States whose voters took a stand against union thuggery for secret elections. And if the NLRB doesn't change the course quickly, I know there will be many in this body, including myself, who will call for the panel's removal altogether.

But, Mr. Speaker, this latest outrage is a unique power grab. Against constitutional and Supreme Court precedents, the NLRB's actions are a clear attack on our State. Think about the context: This administration has spent our Nation into oblivion, doubling the national debt in 2 short years, running over businesses both large and small, mounting takeover after takeover, and reducing the size and scope of our economy in the process. South Carolina's unemployment rate finally dips below 10 percent, and what does this administration do? It sues one of the largest prospective employers in our State just as that company begins to hire workers, potentially costing South Carolina thousands of new jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I may be new to Washington, but I promise you I was not born yesterday. Looking at the NLRB's policy and examining recent electoral maps, it's not difficult to see a policy that clearly rewards blue States while severely punishing red ones. Under the NLRB's interpretation of the law, a company with a union workforce anchored in a blue State could not expand or relocate to a red State.

[Time: 10:10]

Limiting where companies can conduct business sounds like something that would take place in China or the old Soviet Union, not here in the United States. Since when did America stop being the land of the free?

Let me give this message to anyone looking to start a company in America. Choose your location well. If this action by NLRB is upheld, trust me when I say that we won't be talking about companies making decisions over moving to a right-to-work state versus a union state. We will see decisions made in the context of locating in America or another country.

And what this outrageous action by the NLRB tells you is that you're stuck with very few options. Give into the union's demands, close up your shop, or take your production outside of the United States. The NLRB's actions say build your companies somewhere else, but not in America. So much for the American dream.

Mr. Speaker, this action by the NLRB is unconstitutional and illegal. I call on my colleagues in the Education and Workforce Committee to hold hearings into this bureaucratic atrocity. My South Carolina colleagues and I have introduced legislation to defund this latest lawsuit.

I ask all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to rescue the American dream and sign on to this legislation. I also ask the American people, pay attention to this problem. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled by this bureaucratic tyranny. It's time to hold our elected officials accountable. Do we want to just say that we're a free nation, or do we really want to be a free nation? Our freedom is under attack. It's time we take a stand.

May God continue to bless America.

(House of Representatives - May 12, 2011)

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