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Right to Work Protection Act

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. DeMINT. Thank you, Madam President. I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the Senator from Tennessee. I appreciate him bringing this up. It is important for us here in the Senate as well as everyone around the country to understand what this administration is doing to hurt jobs in America.

This has been a good week for America. We have worked together building on a lot of the common principles of our country of a strong defense and a robust intelligence system to track down an enemy of freedom and to render justice as we had promised. This was done over two administrations and many Congressmen and Senators. So this is a good day for America. I think we need to take this time to maybe think about how we can apply the principles that work in America to our challenges back home with our economy and our jobs and our culture, because it is a bigger issue we are dealing with in the context of this decision by the National Labor Relations Board. We need to use the principles that work, but it appears this administration and my colleagues on the other side are afraid to let these principles work. They seem to be afraid of freedom itself.

We see in their record over the last 2 years being afraid for Americans to make their own decisions about their children's education and about their health care. They are afraid to death of letting senior citizens manage their own retirement funds and health care plans. They are certainly afraid to let States manage their own energy resources or decide what roads and bridges to build and where to build them. They clearly don't want businesses to make their own decisions about hiring and firing. They won't let even community banks make their own decisions about who to lend money to, even though these small banks have nothing to do with the financial collapse. Clearly, from this decision, this administration and the Democratic Party is afraid to give employees--workers--the freedom not to join a union.

It is amazing what this National Labor Relations Board, which has been stacked with union folks by the administration, is doing to jobs in our States and all across the country. Twenty-two States have right-to-work laws. In the last few months, my State, along with several others, has passed a constitutional amendment that would protect the freedom of workers to have a secret ballot when union bosses are trying to organize their workplace. A secret ballot is so fundamental to American principles and the principles of freedom, but the AFL-CIO is suing our State and others to stop us from protecting that freedom of workers.

In the last few weeks, a truly extraordinary thing has happened, as this National Labor Relations Board has actually filed suit against Boeing, which has located a new facility in South Carolina, claiming it was retribution for a strike in Washington. People need to understand that Boeing has added 2,000 jobs in Washington since they decided to build this new production line in South Carolina. But this administration--and I am afraid the majority here in the Senate--is so afraid companies will have the freedom to locate new facilities, new businesses, in States where their workers are not required to join a union.

Let's put this in a different context. A few weeks ago, a delegation from California went to Texas to try to figure out why hundreds of businesses are moving from California, taking tax revenue and jobs with them to Texas and other States. They didn't need to make the trip. It was pretty obvious that the business environment that has been created in California by the unions and the politicians has made it very difficult for world-class companies

to be competitive. What takes a few weeks in Texas could take 2 years as far as getting a permit to open a new business.

This is a small look at what is happening to our country, because we need to look at why so many companies are moving from our country to other countries to do business. It is because of decisions such as this and decisions by this administration over the last couple of years that have made America a place that is very difficult to do business in.

I appreciate what the Senator from Tennessee is doing, because this is not just about one employer or one State. Twenty-two States are right-to-work States. Twenty-two States have decided they are going to provide the freedom to their workers not to have to join a union. So much of this is political and retribution, not just against Boeing for putting a site in a right-to-work State, but it is political retribution. The administration, I believe, is acting like thugs that one might see in a Third World country, trying to bully and intimidate employers who are trying to get out from under this cloud of union control. It is a political deal of this administration trying to expand unionization and union benefits because the unions give the contributions to the Democratic Party and get out the vote for the Democrats.

This is crazy. In an environment where this administration and all of us here are saying we are trying to create jobs, there is no question what they are doing in South Carolina and around this country by trying to force unionization is hurting our business climate in America, it is hurting employment, it is diminishing our future as a country, and it is all for political purposes.

It is amazing to see that the unions have such a control over this administration, even in passing the stimulus bill. With it went requirements that a lot of the contractors who use this money had to follow union rules or be unionized. We saw in the health plan that the unions were the big proponent of it, but as soon as it passed, they are the ones asking for waivers so they don't have to live by it.

What this administration is doing to one company is a threat to every company, every employer, and every worker in this country. It goes back to their fear of freedom. The command-and-control paranoia we see in this administration is antithetical to everything we understand about freedom in our country--of individual responsibility and individual freedom--and free markets and free enterprise. They are attacking it on every front.

This decision by the National Labor Relations Board cannot stand. We must challenge it here in the Congress; employers need to challenge it; states are already challenging it, because it is clearly outside of the authority of this Federal Government to be threatening and bullying and trying to intimidate companies such as Boeing, which should have the freedom to locate their plants anywhere they want. This is intimidation. Many of Boeing's contracts are military contracts, and we know that is being held over their head.

This is not the way we should do business in America. This is not the way our government should operate. We need to get back to those first principles that made us great. Clearly, what this administration is doing in this case and many others is way outside the realm of what we should expect of a good and decent government, and we are not getting it here.

With that, Madam President, I see the other Senator from South Carolina is here, and I will yield the floor.


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