On July 20, 2017, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation aimed at effectively taking down the National Labor Relations Board—it would strip the Board of its power to prosecute and adjudicate labor disputes. Instead, that power would be transferred to federal courts. While the Protecting American Jobs Act, S. 1594, would let the NLRB conduct investigations, the Board would be unable to prosecute any violations it unearthed. Senator Lee introduced similar bills in the last two Congresses, but they never made it beyond committee assignment. With the currently Republican-dominated Congress, the bill likely has better odds.
The measure would also limit the NLRB’s rulemaking authority to rules concerning the internal functions of the Board. The Board would be barred from “promulgating rules or regulations that affect the substantive or procedural rights of any person, employer, employee, or labor organization, including rules and regulations concerning unfair labor practices and representation elections.” Conforming amendments would be made to the National Labor Relations Act.
According to Lee, “the NLRB has acted as judge, jury, and executioner, for labor disputes in this country.” He said the Board has wrought havoc “by upsetting decades of established labor law has cost countless jobs.” The Protecting American Jobs Act would restore “fairness and accountability” to federal labor laws, he suggested.
The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Luther Strange (R-Ala.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
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