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Public Statements

Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, being a middle class American today often means being caught in the middle, caught in the middle of the partisan posturing in Washington. And the situation we are in here today is yet another example.

The Senate's filibuster of appointees to the National Labor Relations Board left the President with two options: make recess appointments or stop enforcement of the laws. Because the latter was not acceptable, the President appointed NLRB members in a recess appointment, a process used by several Presidents before him. Unfortunately, the D.C. Circuit Court invalidated those appointments, and the question is presently pending before the Supreme Court. Now, it's too bad we're not here working together to request expedited consideration by the Supreme Court, but instead we're considering a bill that essentially seeks to shut down the NLRB.

Freight workers in my home State of Oregon will feel the consequences. In September of 2008, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, in violation of the law, announced that they would stop making payments to employee pension funds following a work stoppage during contract negotiations. In May 2012, a unanimous panel at the NLRB, a panel of Republicans and Democrats, found the company to be in violation of multiple sections of the National Labor Relations Act and ordered the company to reimburse the trust for missed payments. The law before us today, if passed, will invalidate this decision, as well as many others; stop the enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act; allow unlawful activity to continue; and exact a toll on workers across the country.

The NLRB is the referee between management and labor, and it helps guarantee the fundamental rights of middle class workers to organize, to bargain for better wages, benefits, and workplace conditions. This bill eliminates the referee and does real harm to hardworking men and women in my district and across the country. I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.


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