Some House Republicans are seizing on the unpopular labor stalemate between the “billionaire” National Basketball Association team owners and its “millionaire” players to boost their case for stripping the National Labor Relations Board of its judicial power.
The players’ efforts to use the NLRB to file unfair labor practices provides another “prime example” of why removing the board’s adjudicatory power is necessary, Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., the House Republican freshman class president, argued in a statement on Tuesday.
“Taxpayers should not fund legal advocacy costs for millionaire players or billionaire owners,” Scott said.
“If the NBA players union would rather duke it out in court than ‘on the court’ then it should be in the same U.S. court as everyone else and not through the taxpayer funded NLRB’s court system,” he said.
It was last month that Scott introduced his “Protecting American Jobs Act,” a bill carrying 26 cosponsors that would modify the NLRB by removing its adjudicatory power.
Although the NLRB would continue to investigate and compile reports on labor complaints as well as oversee union elections, under Scott's legislation it could no longer sit in judgment in cases. Instead, civil actions would be have to be brought in federal District Court where the alleged violations occurred or in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Scott and other Republicans have previously complained the country is hindered in its efforts to compete for jobs globally due to an “uncertainty” that has been created during the Democratic administration of President Obama by the politics and bias coloring the NLRB’s judicial decisions.
Most prominent among the disputed cases they point to is the NLRB’s siding with a machinists union in Washington state against Boeing’s efforts to open a plant in South Carolina and shift operations there.
And now, Scott is seizing on the prospect of NLRB involvement in the publicly unpopular fight between the NBA owners and players on how to divide billions of dollars in league revenues to provide a boost for his bill.
On Monday, NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of play for regular season, which was scheduled to tip off on Nov. 1. He cited the inability of the NBA and its players to agree on a labor deal.
Taxpayers should not be on the hook for funding the legal advocacy costs in this matter, said Scott.
“If passed, my bill will ensure that this can never happen again,” he said in a statement.