U.S. House to vote on bill that helps Boeing sidestep labor dispute

September 14, 2011

Associated Press and Michell Eloy

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on a bill that could undermine the government's labor complaint against Chicago-based Boeing.

The bill, which is sponsored by South Carolina Republican Tim Scott, would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering companies to close factories or relocate workers, even if the companies are in violation of labor laws.

Richard Trumka, union president for the AFL-CIO, says the bill is an attempt by Republicans to intimidate the NLRB.

“They're not going to get the law changed,” said Trumka, who joined striking Hyatt workers today in Chicago. “It violates all notions of fairness, and it overreaches, and it's not going to work.”

The NLRB alleges Boeing built a new factory earlier this year in right-to-work South Carolina to avoid union regulations in Washington State. In a statement, Boeing denied the claim, maintaining that the factory opening was within the company’s rights and that none of the production jobs in South Carolina came at the expense of jobs in Washington.

The new bill is expected to pass the GOP-controlled House, but is unlikely to move past the Senate.