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Representative Scott, Senator Lindsey Graham, and other members of South Carolina’s Congressional delegation are playing lead roles in maintaining an ongoing impasse over the appointment of new board members to the NLRB. Senate Republicans have blocked efforts by the Obama administration to fill those vacancies while House Republicans are keeping Congress from adjourning by conducting pro forma sessions, keeping the Obama administration from filling the seats via temporary “recess appointments.” Two of the board’s five seats are vacant and a third will come vacant at the end of the month. Once a majority of seats are vacant, it cannot conduct business. Both Congressman Scott and fellow South Carolina House member Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) indicated the House leadership will continue the pro forma sessions for the foreseeable future.
Duncan expressed his concern with the NLRB’s conduct in the Boeing case, promising to “push for changes in the law to make sure that the NLRB never uses this type of unconstitutional bullying tactic again,” while Scott expressed his belief that “the forces at work within our country to undermine our recovery include the NLRB.” Driven by these concerns, Duncan and Scott have sponsored several bills aimed at protecting free choice by employees and reining in the NLRB. These bills include:
• H.R. 1047 – “State Right to Vote Act,” sponsored by Duncan, would protect states that adopt laws allowing workers to settle issues by secret ballot.
• H.R. 1976 and 2587, both sponsored by Scott, would bar the NLRB from directing companies to close or move plants or jobs, while another Scott bill, H.R. 2810 – The “Employee Rights Act,” would require the use of secret balloting to unionize a workplace and require a renewal vote every three years. It would also set guidelines on how these elections are to be conducted.
In September, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others in filing suit in federal courts to block implementation of what is known as the “Notification Rule.” This proposed NLRB rule would create a new mandate which would require employers to post notices that have been considered free advertising for labor unions.
Scott believed the backlash against the NLRB over the Boeing case taught the agency to be careful in picking its battles with businesses, predicting “the NLRB will become a little more cautious when it steps outside of the lines with companies in the future.” Given the ongoing efforts being waged in the courts and on Capitol Hill by South Carolina’s business and political leaders, it would seem that while the battle over the Boeing plant may have ended, the state’s war with the agency is far from over.
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