House Republicans, angry over the government’s labor dispute with Boeing Co., are taking up a bill that would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any company to close plants or relocate workers, even if a company flouts labor laws.
The measure would undercut a high-profile lawsuit filed in April that accuses Boeing of violating labor laws by opening a new production line for its 787 airplane in right-to-work South Carolina. The board says Boeing is punishing unionized Washington state workers for past strikes.
Boeing has vigorously denied the allegations, claiming the move was an economic decision. Business groups claim the board has overstepped its bounds, and say no agency should have the right to dictate where a company can or cannot create jobs.
While the bill is likely to pass the GOP-controlled House when it comes up for a vote Thursday, it is not expected to gain traction in the Senate, where Democratic leaders strongly oppose it. The Obama administration and labor groups say the bill would cripple the government’s ability to enforce labor laws.
The case has become a major issue in the Republican presidential campaign, in which South Carolina is an early primary state. Touring the new Boeing plant in South Carolina on Monday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the lawsuit “political payback” from the White House to unions.