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George Miller
George Miller (Official photo)
As expected, the House passed the bill Democrats have dubbed the "Outsourcers' Bill of Rights" Thursday. The bill strips the National Labor Relations Board's power to remedy it when companies move jobs illegally due to workers exercising their rights. The vote was 238 to 186, with eight Democrats and seven Republicans crossing party lines. Although the bill was spurred by the NLRB's complaint against Boeing, Boeing has declined to endorse the bill.

Speaking on the House floor, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) said:

Mr. Speaker, workers have had the right to organize since 1935.  They have the right to join together and fight for a better future for themselves and their families. And it has been the law of the land that employers cannot retaliate against workers for exercising that right.

Employers cannot fire workers for exercising that right. They cannot subcontract or outsource work just because workers exercise that right. If they do, workers have a right to redress.

For more than 70 years, the National Labor Relations Board has taken issue with that kind of retaliation. If employers are proven to have retaliated against workers for exercising the right to organize, the Board is empowered to make workers whole.

But not under this bill.  

Under this bill, workers would not be able to be made whole anymore.

Under this bill, a company can retaliate against a worker for trying to organize a union. The employer could layoff that worker and subcontract their work out.

A company can bust a union by setting up a shell company down the street and send all the work there until all of the union employees have lost their jobs. Workers would be out of luck because the NLRB would be prohibited from ordering the work returned to those now-unemployed workers.

Under this bill, if a company wants to bust a union by outsourcing its work to China, this bill permits it. Workers would be powerless to stop that outsourcing.

But then, that's what Republicans want.

Harry Reid does not plan to bring the bill to a vote in the Senate.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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