Sen. Alexander: NLRB’s Boeing Complaint Helps Send Jobs Overseas

In a Senate floor speech Tuesday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) discussed U.S. competitiveness and the trend of “on-shoring” manufacturing jobs as described in the recent Economist article, “Moving back to America –The dwindling allure of building factories offshore.”

Unfortunately, the health care law adds to business costs, and the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, Alexander noted. Now, the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against The Boeing Company sends a clear signal to large companies: Beware doing business in a United States burdened by this kind of anti-competitive government action.

[We] have a regulation from the National Labor Relations Board that may have the effect of law for 2 to 5 years that says it is prima facie evidence of an unfair labor practice if a company that is producing in a union State expands or moves to a right-to-work State. This is an assault on every middle-income Tennessean and on millions of middle-income Americans who have manufacturing jobs–certainly, everyone in the 22 right-to-work States. But as the Boeing chief executive said, it could be just as much of a disincentive to a State such as Michigan or Illinois or some other State that does not have a right-to-work law because why would you put a plant in Michigan if later you would not be allowed to put it in Tennessee?

If General Motors has plants in both right-to-work and non-right-to-work States, we are going to make it more difficult for General Motors to expand in America. Where are they going to expand? They can expand overseas. They can be making there what they sell there instead of making it here.

Some of my friends on the other side of the aisle like to talk about outsourcing jobs. This is the mother of all outsourcing jobs plan–the idea that it is prima facie evidence for a company that expands in a right-to-work State, that is an unfair labor practice.

For the next 2 to 5 years, we have the unhealthy situation for jobs that any manufacturer who wants to expand will have to think twice about expanding in a right-to-work State and then think at least once about coming in the first place to a State that does not have a right-to-work law. The only other option I can see for those jobs is to make them overseas. That will not only slow job growth in the United States where we desperately need it, but it will be speeding up the sending of American jobs overseas.

Alexander is the chief sponsor of S. 964, the Job Protection Act, that would preserve federal law’s existing protections of state right-to-work laws, clarify that the NLRB would not be able to order an employer to relocate jobs from one location to another, and guarantee an employer the right to decide where to do business within the United States.

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