House Republicans Approve Bill to Protect Illegal Job Outsourcers

Sep 15, 2011 Issues: Labor, Jobs and Job Training, Worker Rights

WASHINGTON – The House approved a special interest bill today that would make it easier for corporations to ship jobs overseas in retaliation against American workers for exercising their fundamental labor rights.

The bill, dubbed the GOP’s Outsourcers’ Bill of Rights (H.R. 2587), would remove the only meaningful legal remedy available to workers if a company illegally moves operations or eliminates work because workers engage in protected activities like forming a union or collective bargaining. 

“The Republican bill sends a message to employers to retaliate against employees who may demand a piece of the American dream,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “We should be working to create jobs, not send American jobs overseas. We should be working to strengthen the middle class, not tear it down. We should be working together to send the message that, during these most difficult economic times, Congress is on the side of the middle class.”

While an employer is free to move operations as they see fit, they cannot do so for an unlawful reason. Retaliating against workers for exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act is one such unlawful reason.

Under the Republican bill, if a company closes an entire U.S. plant or part of a U.S. plant and moved the work to China because the U.S. employees organized a union, the National Labor Relations Board would no longer have the power to order the work to be kept in or returned to the U.S. 

“If you want more outsourcing, if you think the problem in America that too many jobs are created here and we need to do more for other countries around the world, then this is your bill,” said Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ). “But, if you’ve had it with outsourcing, if you want jobs to be created here in America, then defeat this bill and bring the President’s jobs bill to the floor.”

Republicans voted down an amendment that would have allowed the NLRB to return jobs to America that were illegally sent overseas. This occurred in 2000 when the NLRB obtained an order to force a company to bring work back to the United States from Mexico after the company allegedly outsourced the work in response to an organizing drive. That order would no longer be available to workers under the bill.

All Democrats and only two Republicans voted for this amendment to save American jobs from illegal outsourcing

“If we can agree on nothing else, we should be able to agree that outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries like China and India is a scourge on our current efforts to create jobs here at home, and that we should do everything in our power to stop outsourcing,” said Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY), who offered the amendment.

The legislation is purportedly in response to the ongoing legal action against The Boeing Company, alleging that the company unlawfully retaliated against union workers when it decided to place the second line of production for an aircraft in South Carolina. The case has yet to be decided and is currently at trial before an administrative law judge.

Background on the GOP’s Outsourcers’ Bill of Rights

Opposition to the GOP’s Outsourcers’ Bill of Rights

Letter of opposition from 248 legal scholars