Steve Chiotakis: The U.S. House is gonna vote at some point in the next couple of hours on a bill that would allow companies to relocate jobs and plants wherever they want, even if it violates labor laws. The measure stems from a complaint by the National Labor Relations Board accusing Boeing of punishing union workers in Washington state by opening a new plant in the right-to-work state of South Carolina.
Susan Schurman is a professor and acting Dean of the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, and she’s with us from New Jersey. Professor, thanks for being here.
Susan Schurman: My pleasure.
Chiotakis: What are the players saying here? We’ve got the National Labor Relations Board, Boeing and now the House Republicans getting involved as well. What are they all saying?
Schurman: The employers are saying that this was an unfair action. The union is saying that the employers violated the law. And the general council of the National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint. And it’s before a judge — they had a hearing yesterday — the facts started to come out. So, it’s not clear to me why the House Republicans want to take any action on this at this point in time. I think it’s a premature political intrusion into the way that the process is supposed to work.
Chiotakis: What are the overall implications going down the road? Does that make it easier for companies to just move plants around to more right-to-work states?
Schurman: If this bill were to pass, basically what it says is that an employer can relocate work even if it violates the law, in terms of protections for workers — in this case, union workers — in their existing facility. So I just think first of all, it’s unnecessary. Companies… we want a system — I think President Obama actually got it right on this, to say let the agency work. Of course we want companies to be able to have the freedom to run their business, but we also have a legal framework that gives workers the right to organize and form a union to represent their interest. And they ought to be able to do the same, without outside political interference, frankly, from either party.
Chiotakis: Professor Susan Schurman at Rutgers University. Professor, thanks.
Schurman: Thank you.
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