DeMint: 'This Will Hurt Job Growth'

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: In the meantime, are businesses bypassing pro- union states? A report out today finds more than 59 percent of private businesses are settling in right-to-work states, and that compares with just over 40 percent in union ones.

It’s what South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint has been saying all along.

Senator, what do you make of, of this push and now the NLRB’s push to widen, I guess, the reach into what defines a legal move to another state?

SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C.: Well, Neil, we’ve talked about many absurdities from the Obama administration that make it harder to do business in our country.

I can’t think of one that’s any worse than this. There are no constitutional powers for this acting general counsel to threaten a company like Boeing, to threaten thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment.

But it tells you that it’s going to take a forced federal government effort to keep businesses in these states that create a bad business environment. Enforced unionization hurts workers. It hurts companies. And a lot of these companies are trying to escape.

And if we won’t let them escape to right-to-work states, as you were just saying, they’re going to end up in China or some other country.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, we’re going to go through as you’re speaking, Senator, the advantages that you have discovered in your report and elsewhere of right-to-work states and what they offer in terms of income growth, et cetera. And it does, by and large, support some of stuff you’re saying.

But I guess what I am asking you is a bit more simple. Is there a law on the books that says a company that’s heavily unionized, as is Boeing, can move or -- an operation or expand an operation, more to the point in South Carolina, even if they don’t cut back a work force, in this case in their home state of Washington State, in fact, they expand that work force, is -- is the smoking gun enough that they’re doing so to keep their labor costs under control? Is that enough for them to stop this?

DEMINT: Well, no, it’s not.

There’s nothing in the law that would say -- in fact; Boeing’s contract with the union says they can expand operations in other states. They’re just contending that they did this as retaliation, in retaliation for strikes in Washington State. But...

CAVUTO: But -- but -- Senator, I’m sorry. That’s a key point I want to follow up. If there is written proof of that, an e-mail, a memo, something union folks tell me exists -- I have no idea, to be honest -- is that their smoking gun? Do they need that to prove their point?

I used to think you’d need a clear quid pro quo. You would need to prove workers got laid off in, let’s say, Washington State and hired in South Carolina to make that point.

DEMINT: Well, I hope there’s no smoking gun, as you said, that results in freedom of speech, because what happened before Boeing made this decision, they tried to work with their unions, and showed them the additional costs that they were facing because of the strikes in the past to try to get the union to work with them.

Now, in the future, if this case stands, companies will not negotiate with their unions. They’ll just move, because, if speaking freely about the cost of unionization and other costs such as high taxes are going to end you -- end you up in court, then companies will forget the negotiations. They’ll just move.

So, what the board is doing here is going to hurt unions, it’s going to hurt those states that are forced union in the future, because what company would put a location in a forced-union state if they could never expand to a right-to-work state after that. This -- this is going to hurt workers in every state and it’s going to hurt job growth in America.

CAVUTO: Senator Jim DeMint, good seeing you again. Thank you very much.

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