Amodei Non-Committal on Labor Rights


Introduced in the U.S. House last September, by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA8), was a bill titled, “Protecting American Jobs Act (HR2978).”  Looking at just the title of the bill alone, one might think that at least one Republican understood the need for Congress to focus on JOBS, but that ‘one’ would be very disappointed in what is actually contained in the bill.

HR 2978 has absolutely nothing to do with “protecting” jobs and has absolutely everything to do with ensuring greedy Corporate America won’t have to worry about those pesky little unions.  You see, the intent of this bill is to pretty much gut the National Labor Relations Board’s ability to conduct elections for labor union representation and to investigate/remedy unfair labor practices.  (You might remember that the Senate had been filibustering NLRB appointments in a continuing effort to prevent the board from functioning — that was — until President Obama recently appointed three members via recess appointments, finally allowing the board to function.)

Here’s a summary of what HR2978 would do:

  • Amends the National Labor Relations Act to repeal the authority of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to issue, and prosecute before the Board, complaints with respect to unfair labor practices.  (Well heck … if Rep. Scott wants his bill to do this, why didn’t he just save the ink and write a one-line bill that simply said, “Repeal the NLRB”?)
  • Repeals the prohibition against: (1) review of an administrative law judge’s report by any person other than a Board member or legal assistant; and (2) advice to or consultation with the Board by an administrative law judge with respect to exceptions taken to his or her findings, rulings, or recommendations. (Oh gee, can anybody say, “Micromanage”?)
  • Limits the Board’s rulemaking authority to rules concerning the internal functions of the Board. Prohibits the Board from promulgating rules that affect the substantive rights of a person, employer, employee, or labor organization.  (Again … more support for one-line bill hypothesis that simply said, “Repeal the NLRB”?)
  • Revises Board powers to grant it the authority to investigate unfair labor practices, but repeals its power to prevent any person from engaging in them.  (Excuse Me?  You can investigate, but you can do anything if you find a Corporation totally screwing its workers?)
  • Repeals the Board’s power to issue a complaint against a person charging an unfair labor practice. Allows an aggrieved party to bring a civil action for relief (including injunctions) in U.S. district court or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in cases where it appears that a person has engaged, is engaging, or is about to engage in an unfair labor practice.  (As if the courts weren’t overloaded enough, now this moron wants to force workers to pay lawyers to go take their complaint to court.)

Unable to contain my emotions when I read the bill on December 7, 2011, I once again wrote an email to Rep. Amodei, using PopVox.com:

I oppose passage of H.R. 2978, the “Protecting American Jobs Act.”  Rep.Scott (R-GA) must have a sick sense of humor and a distorted perception of what actually creates jobs.  Castrating the one federal agency that works to ensure labor gets a fair shake such that they’re incapable of protecting workers rights will do absolutely NOTHING to protect American jobs and in fact, will do everything to protect the wishes and demands of Corporations at the expense of workers and their jobs.

Today, I got a very non-committal response back from Rep. Amodei’s office:

It may still be in committee, and it may indeed die there, but it still begs the question: does Rep. Amodei have labor’s (our) backs … or the back of Corporate America?

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