The National Labor Relations Board has been making headlines of late because of its complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers by moving some of its operations to South Carolina. And perhaps not surprisingly, the NLRB has been getting more attention from lawmakers lately too.
Case in point, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has introduced H.R. 2118 in an attempt to rein in the litigation power of the NLRB.
According to the history given by Chaffetz that led to the introduction of the bill, voters in Utah, Arizona, South Carolina, and South Dakota voted to approve amendments to their state constitutions preventing unionizing without elections. The amendments also required the voting process to be done via secret ballot. In response to this, the NLRB threatened to sue each state, contending that the approved state amendments conflicted with the rights afforded to individuals under the National Labor Relations Act.
According to the statement from Chaffetz, H.R. 2118 would bring the NLRB’s litigating authority in line with most other federal agencies. Under H.R. 2118, the NLRB would retain authority to sue individuals and companies, enforce or defend its orders, and appear in federal appeals courts. However, the bill strikes NLRB’s ability to sue a state on the grounds that a sovereign state action conflicted with the National Labor Relations Act. The legislation would in no way prohibit the federal government from enforcing federal law over conflicting state laws.
“H.R. 2118 ensures that states that choose to have pro-growth, right-to-work policies will not be intimidated and threatened by the NLRB,” said Chaffetz. “Deciding whether or not a state action violates federal law should be made by the DOJ, not a board of union friendly, politically motivated appointees.”
Full text of H.R. 2118 (PDF)
Letter sent to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff by the NLRB informing him of the intention to file a lawsuit (PDF)