This legislation tells 14 million unemployed Americans that their needs are irrelevant as long as there is a CEO in America who wants to crush a union.
Fortunately, hard-working Americans already have legal protections to shield them from such brazen retribution. The National Labor Relations Act prohibits a company from taking actions -- such as firing an employee or relocating a factory to prevent workers from exercising federally protected rights that include forming a union or striking. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Boeing in April 2011, accusing the aircraft manufacturer of building a plant in South Carolina as retaliation against union employees in Washington State who have engaged in strikes. One Boeing executive was quoted in the Seattle Times as saying that the main factor for putting the new plant in Charleston, South Carolina was, “…that we cannot afford to have a work stoppage, you know, every three years.”
H.R. 2587 is truly a betrayal of the American people, but it fits into the alarming trend advocated by Tea Party Republican legislators at the state and federal level to eliminate worker rights and protections. The Tea Party is moving in a direction of returning to the days of destructive and abusive labor practices.
Every worker – union or non-union – is paying attention to what is happening in America. Ever since the Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the same free speech protections as individuals, the floodgates opened to waves of special interest money in federal elections. The fundamentals of our democracy are at risk along with the rights of workers and the wages of every middle class American.
H.R. 2587 is a harbinger of the battle working people, regular Americans, face as corporations dictate to elected leaders. I oppose this legislation, and I oppose the union busting, anti-working American agenda it represents.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum represents Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District. She serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.