Unions Take the Fight to the States
“We’ve decided to freeze all contributions to federal candidates, federal committees and federal candidate PACs in order to really refocus on battles we are experiencing in a number of states,” Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, told FOX News.
Analysts say there are a number of reasons unions are shifting their resources, including frustration with the White House. Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia told FOX News that unions and “the left generally” are showing signs of dissatisfaction with Obama – “There is no question about that.
It’s a sentiment Schaitberger confirms.
“There is some dismay and disappointment in the administration's efforts on behalf of workers and American workers and America's middle class,” he said.
“It really galvanized us and it energized us and it became a rallying point for us to understand that we've got to be willing to now fight back,” Scheitberger said.
Even if unions are more concentrated on funneling resources into state fights, Sabato predicts the president will still benefit indirectly as Democratic turnout increases.
“Even if they're giving to state legislative races, or gubernatorial races, or congressional races, there's a spillover into the presidential contest,” Sabato said, describing a “ripple effect” that winds up helping all Democrats on the ballot.
Unions are getting a boost from recent activity by the National Labor Relations Board, the executive-branch agency charged with regulating labor disputes. Last week, Acting NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon, an Obama appointee, issued a complaint against aircraft maker Boeing after the company decided to locate a new plant in South Carolina because it is a “right to work” state in which workers can’t be required to join a union as a condition of having a job at a unionized workplace.
In opposing the plans, Solomon said, “A worker’s right to strike is a fundamental right.”
Boeing has spent three years preparing to open the $2 billion facility that would reportedly create 1,000 jobs there. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she’ll fight to make sure that doesn’t change. “We are not going to get bullied by the unions one more day,” she told reporters.
The NLRB has also set its sights on Arizona and South Dakota. Solomon says he’s directed his staff to launch lawsuits against the two states because of recently passed amendments to their state constitutions. Those measures require secret-ballot elections when employees vote to decide whether or not to unionize companies. That stands in contrast to the so-called “card-check” method, which simply allows unionization when a majority of employees at a company sign authorization forms allowing a union to represent them.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne maintains, despite Solomon’s assertion that the amendments violate the Constitution, that the state provisions are valid.
“Imagine what would happen if the Obama administration told [Americans] that normal elections would be no longer secret ballot, but they’d have to sign something that would be open to other people to see how they voted?” Horne said in an interview with FOX News. He argues voters would be intimidated and feel that one of their most basic rights had been “violated.”
In committing to fight the Arizona and South Dakota measures, the NLRB has also indicated it is reserving the right to institute lawsuits against two other states with similar provisions: South Carolina and Utah.
Federal Government Attacks on Boeing Fuel Our National Economic Suicide
Sometimes by favoring a narrow constituency, the federal government can cause economic devastation for a company or a state and even encourage companies to manufacture outside the United States. In terms of sheer economic stupidity, the Obama Administration committed an economic felony when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered Boeing to shutter a spanking new $2 billion facility that would have created 1,000 much-needed new jobs in South Carolina.
Last week, the NLRB told Boeing that it could not open the facility it had spent three years creating to build its new Dreamliner series of airplanes. The NLRB did not deem the plant unsafe or harmful to South Carolina workers. The NLRB simply said that it could block Boeing from using the new plant as Boeing’s decision to locate it in South Carolina was in part based on a desire to avoid work stoppages and strikes, and this rationale was harmful to unions and thus an illegal act.
Never before has the federal government told a company it may not relocate within the United States. Never before has the statute used been interpreted to affect a decision on where a product is made. Never before has the Constitutional goal of easing interstate commerce been so trampled by a formal act of the federal government.
This outrageous overreach is unacceptable and will certainly be overturned in time by the federal courts. But the process may take years, and meanwhile a great American company – and one of our nation’s largest exporters – will be hurt irreparably. Imagine the Boeing customers abroad who placed firm orders awaiting their new planes; Airbus must be getting lots of calls and new orders thanks to this decision.
Our federal government has become the enemy of job creators. Look at the facts here: South Carolina’s Dreamliner production line would be in addition to, not instead of, Boeing’s production line in Seattle. Boeing is already facing a backlog of orders for the plane, and this NLRB action, if not reversed soon, will certainly cause it to lose orders for these American-built planes. The NLRB apparently wants the second line to also be produced in the Puget Sound area – also silly if you see what too much concentration of production capacity in one venue can do (witness the Sendai area in Japan). The greatest irony is that if Boeing had put this facility in Canada or even in China the NLRB probably could not have ordered its shutdown (but who knows given their perverse interpretation of the law).
The Obama Administration has been criticized as light on those with any real business experience. If you have not made a payroll or never created a job you can play in the niceties of doing what union fundraisers want. But with all due respect to my father who was a union activist until he died, unions have lost their way. Having successfully changed laws to protect worker safety, overtime and vacation compensation, and even process for termination, unions are pushing our nation over the edge with unaffordable defined benefit pensions and no-fire tenure.
This latest example with the NLRB and Boeing pushes the “union gets everything it wants” envelope further; it is just one more reason why a company would choose not to manufacture in the United States. I suspect even my loyal unionist dad would say he and his fellow WWII veterans might think this controlling government action is beyond the American ideal for which they fought.
Our government is killing American jobs. American companies compete in the real world, and our nation is in real trouble as we isolate ourselves, create trade barriers and handcuff our best companies with absurd policies, excessive litigation costs, high taxes and social engineering.
It is time for common sense. South Carolina Senators should filibuster the Senate until this issue is resolved. Business groups must speak up. Responsible Democrats and Republicans must demand this action be reversed. This march towards national economic suicide must end, and immediate reversal of this act of insanity against Boeing is a good place to start.
House votes to restrict unions
House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.
The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers’ rights.
Unions fought hard to stop the bill, launching a radio ad that assailed the plan and warning legislators that if they voted for the measure, they could lose their union backing in the next election. After the vote, labor leaders accused House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and other Democrats of turning their backs on public employees.
“It’s pretty stunning,’’ said Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they’re with us, that they believe in collective bargaining, that they believe in unions… . It’s a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber.’’
“We are going to fight this thing to the bitter end,’’ he added. “Massachusetts is not the place that takes collective bargaining away from public employees.’’
The battle now turns to the Senate, where President Therese Murray has indicated that she is reluctant to strip workers of their right to bargain over their health care plans.
DeLeo said the House measure would save $100 million for cities and towns in the upcoming budget year, helping them avoid layoffs and reductions in services. He called his plan one of the most significant reforms the state can adopt to help control escalating health care costs.
“By spending less on the health care costs of municipal employees, our cities and towns will be able to retain jobs and allot more funding to necessary services like education and public safety,’’ he said in a statement.
Last night, as union leaders lobbied against the plan, DeLeo offered two concessions intended to shore up support from wavering legislators.
The first concession gives public employees 30 days to discuss changes to their health plans with local officials, instead of allowing the officials to act without any input from union members. But local officials would still, at the end of that period, be able to impose their changes unilaterally.