Lancman blasts stance taken by Turner on pro-union law

State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (r.) chats with his newly elected colleague Phil Goldfeder on Election Day. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Newly elected U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Howard Beach) weighed in on his first piece of legislation the same day he was sworn in to the House last Thursday, which a Democratic lawmaker in Queens said is indicative of why the 9th Congressional District voted Turner into office for the wrong reasons.

“Literally on Day 1, he was sworn in in the morning and by the end of the day he had voted to not only undermine very basic protections that American workers have against abuse and retaliation, but literally pave the way for American jobs to be outsourced overseas,” said state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) the day after the vote.

Turner voted along with much of the Republican Party to pass the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act in Congress with a vote of 238-186.

The act seeks to deprive the National Labor Relations Board of power to regulate how private companies deal with unions, according to Lancman, who chairs the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and reportedly had his eye on the 9th District seat before the Queens Democratic Party picked state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) as its candidate.

Currently, if a company moves a factory out of a particular area and the NLRB deems it was moved to avoid unions, the board can force the company to move the factory back under the National Labor Relations Act.

The legislation that Turner voted for in Congress would take that power away.

Lancman said companies have the right to build factories and move wherever they want, but not if that move is in retaliation for workers exercising their right to organize.

But Turner said he voted with regard to the aircraft manufacturing company Boeing, which wanted to build a new facility in South Carolina, but was being prevented by the NLRB.

“They were blocking the building of the plant,” Turner said, adding that he vote was meant to help the company create 10,000 jobs that would be a part of the new plant.

Turner’s upset election has alternatively been referred to as a referendum on Obama’s administration, his policy on Israel and even the issue of gay marriage, and the former television executive even had many Democratic politicians supporting him.

But that message was sent Sept. 13, Lancman said, and now voters are left with Turner’s conservative Republican political leanings for the rest of the term.

“I think that those who voted for Mr. Turner to make a protest against Obama on Israel or health care ... that protest was on Tuesday,” he said. “But now the philosophy that Bob Turner represents is going to be reflected in the votes he takes and those are going to be conservative Republican votes.”

In this particular vote, Lancman said that since Queens is made up of largely working-class residents, many of whom are members of unions, it was a vote that was not in line with his constituency’s best interests and instead was simply along party lines.

“If he’s going to be a solider in John Boehner’s conservative, anti-government army in Washington, then I’m going to continue to call him on it,” Lancman said.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 12:57 pm, September 22, 2011
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