Republicans in the legislature are attempting to pass a law to protect businesses, in response to a proposed federal rules change that would effectively promote unions in South Carolina.
South Carolina Republicans in the House are meeting Tuesday to discuss passing the “Employer Free Speech Act,” which targets a potential rules change by the agency that oversees the country’s labor laws.
The issue began after the National Labor Relations Board said it was examining a regulation that would require all businesses to post in their workplace a 1935 federal law that guarantees employees have the right to collectively bargain and join unions.
Other federal agencies require similar postings on minimum wage laws, civil rights, and overtime. The board said the proposal would increase employees’ knowledge of their rights under the law. However, critics contend the NLRB lacks the authority to put such a rules change into place without Congress’s permission.
Governor Nikki Haley called the proposal “ridiculous,” saying South Carolina would not require companies to put up posters encouraging unions.
Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) has proposed a bill designed to show opposition to the possible federal law. 63 legislators have signed on. It will be debated in the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
South Carolina and the NLRB have already clashed once this year. The board sent a letter to the state’s attorney general threatening a lawsuit over the November passage of a constitutional amendment that would recognize workers’ right to a secret ballot. After a response from Attorney General Alan Wilson and his counterparts in three other states, the NLRB dropped the threat— agreeing to negotiate.