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Entries in NLRB (174)

Saturday
May142011

CEI Daily - NLRB Overreach, Public Transit, and the Regulation of the Day

 

NLRB Overreach

 

Yesterday, three senators introduced the Jobs Protection Act, which would prevent controversial NLRB overreaches like the recent Boeing scandal.

 

Policy Analyst Ivan Osorio comments on the bill.

 

"It should be outrageous that such a bill would be needed, yet it is, as the NLRB carrying water for Big Labor appears to be part of a pattern. The Board has also threatened to sue four states over amendments to their constitutions guaranteeing secret ballots in union organizing elections.[...] [The Boeing incident] is the latest episode in the Obama administration’s pattern of politicizing the NLRB to act as an agent for organized labor, rather than an independent arbiter. Congress may still need to do more to rein in this rogue agency."

 

 

Public Transit

 

A new report from the Brookings Institution analyzes U.S. transit systems in different cities. 

 

Policy Analyst Marc Scribner responds to the report.

 

   "Important takeaway: as metropolitan areas continue to suburbanize (including lower-income residents who previously resided in inner cities), the spoke-and-hub model of transit, which relies on monocentric urban land-use patterns, will become less useful for those who can least afford private auto trips. The high-skilled, high-income workers of central cities benefit the most from the status quo, while the increasingly lower- to middle-income suburban residents — who are more and more often finding work in the suburbs, as well — have less access to efficient transit. [...]

    I don’t believe the Brookings authors go far enough in their conclusions or articulate the inconvenient truth that many Americans have rejected transit outright, but it is definitely worth reading."

 

 

 

Regulation of the Day

 

In the latest "Regulation of the Day," Fellow in Regulatory Studies Ryan Young talks about efforts in Texas to criminalize lying about the weight of a fish you've caught.

 

Read the "Regulation of the Day" here.

 



Friday
May132011

Dem Gov. Beebe: NLRB ruling could be 'detrimental'  

Beebe: NLRB ruling could be 'detrimental'
The City Wire
5/11/2011

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said Wednesday (May 11) that a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling against Boeing could be “detrimental” to Arkansas’ economic development efforts.

In 2008 and 2009, Boeing searched for potential new manufacturing locations at which to build the company’s new 787 Dreamliner. The new plane uses advanced composite materials and new engines to build a large commercial plane significantly more fuel efficient than other planes in the industry.

But union leaders objected when Boeing decided to build a $1 billion plant — the first large airplane manufacturing plant built at a new location in about 40 years — near Charleston, S.C.

UNION OBJECTION
Officials with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751 filed in March 2010 a complaint with the NLRB. They alleged that Boeing made the decision to locate in South Carolina because, as a right-to-work state, it is difficult for workers to unionize. Further, they alleged that the move was a signal by Boeing to its union workforce in Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., that union strikes and other disruptions could push more production to other right-to-work states.

On April 20, NLRB Regional Director Richard Ahearn agreed with the union allegations, saying the Boeing decision to locate a plant in South Carolina was made to “discourage” union workers from engaging in protected union activities. Evidence cited in the NLRB ruling included several news reports in which Boeing officials said part of the decision was based on fear of future union strikes disrupting Dreamliner production.

“As part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged above in paragraphs 7 and 8, the Acting General Counsel seeks an Order requiring Respondent to have the Unit operate its second line of 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly production in the State of Washington, utilizing supply lines maintained by the Unit in the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, area facilities,” Ahearn wrote in the ruling.

A hearing on the ruling is set for June 14 in Seattle.

ARKANSAS IMPACT?
Arkansas, also a right-to-work state, was active in attempting to recruit Boeing’s Dreamliner plant. State and chamber officials in Arkansas often use the right-to-work issue as a selling point.

“It could be detrimental to Arkansas’ economic development efforts if that is carried to some extreme conclusion,” Beebe said Wednesday in a “Talk Politics” interview with Roby Brock. (Link here for more on the interview.)

Beebe said he is not fully versed on the “legal background” cited by NLRB in the ruling, but said it “undoubtedly is raising questions about a company’s ability to move plants to different parts of the company for competitive reasons.”

“It bears watching by Arkansas because it could have an effect on Arkansas,” he added.

Cheryl Garner, vice president of economic development with the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the ruling could take away one of the state’s selling points when recruiting manufacturers and other large employers.

“We would be losing one of the many advantages that this area has, but it is not a deal killer,” Garner said. “We do market ourselves as a right-to-work state and it is an advantage, certainly. ... But I think there are many factors that go into moving a location, in addition to that.”

NATIONAL OPPOSITION
The NLRB ruling is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, the HR Policy Association and other national business groups.

“It is disturbing that at a time when companies doing business in the U.S. are engaged in intensive competition on a global scale, a company would be sanctioned for engaging in open and honest discussions with its union about economic realities,” Dan Yager, chief policy officer & general counsel for the HR Policy Association, said in a statement released by the U.S. Chamber. “If anything, the NLRB should seek to ensure that employers and unions are able to speak freely with each other, consistent with their rights under Section 8(c) of the National Labor Relations Act. Any failure by the Board to protect those rights can only further harm the larger economic interests of all Americans.”

Jim McNerney, chairman, president and CEO of Boeing, wrote in a May 11 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, that the NLRB ruling fails to recognize that the company’s union contracts allow Boeing to “locate new work at our discretion.” He also noted that no union jobs have been lost in existing plants as a result of the South Carolina expansion.


“In fact, we've since added more than 2,000 union jobs there (Everett, Wash.), and the hiring continues,” McNerney noted.

The Boeing chief also said the NLRB action could backfire on unions if business owners decide to not locate plants in pro-union states for fear of not then being allowed to expand to right-to-work states.

“U.S. tax and regulatory policies already make it more attractive for many companies to build new manufacturing capacity overseas. That's something the administration has said it wants to change and is taking steps to address. It appears that message hasn't made it to the front offices of the NLRB,” McNerney concluded.

LABOR FOCUS
Beebe, in the “Talk Politics” interview, also said assumptions about unions can “go both ways.”

He said when Cooper Tire announced it would close two of its four manufacturing plants, the initial fear in Arkansas was the unionized Cooper Tire plant in Texarkana would be lost. At the time, two of the Cooper Tire plants were unionized. But Beebe reminded that the Texarkana plant remained open because of the union’s willingness to work with management. And, according to Beebe, “the trump card” was the quality of the workforce and quality of production at Texarkana.

“It doesn’t always follow that if you’re non-union you are going to get the business,” Beebe said.

But Garner said global competition to locate operations has created more focus on labor costs — a trend she predicts will continue.

“As the competition gets tighter and tighter globally, companies will continue to look for that low-cost labor. That’s a trend that will not go away,” she said.

-------------------------
Palin, Gingrich, Reid weigh in on Boeing labor complaint
The Herald
Michelle Dunlop
5/11/2011
The political heavyweights are adding their two cents to the National Labor Relations Board's complaint against the Boeing Co.

President Barack Obama's appointees on the labor board “have their boots on The Boeing Co.'s neck,” writes Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor, in this piece for Fox News.

The labor board has alleged that Boeing picked South Carolina as the site for its second 787 line in order to get back at its Machinists in Washington state for past strikes. The labor board's general counsel has said Boeing's move is illegal and wants the company to put a second line in Washington instead. A hearing on the complaint is set for June 14 in Seattle.

Palin isn't the only Republican lashing out at Obama and the labor board. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich calls the complaint a “job killing effort” in this piece.

“It is clear that President Obama is packing the NLRB board with left wing ideologues as a payoff to his union boss allies, so that the fix is in with regard to this case and others like it,” Gingrich writes.

For the Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is standing up for the labor board and its complaint:
“Let's be honest: Republicans are threatened by unions,” Reid said. “They're threatened because when a large, organized group is so concerned with workers' rights, the members of that group vote in large numbers. And because Republicans and the big businesses they defend so often try to take away workers' rights, workers don't often vote Republican.”



Thursday
May122011

WFI - NLRB/Boeing Issue Stays in the News 

--------------------

Nikki Haley wants ‘Battle for Boeing’ to be 2012 issue

Washington Post - The Fix

For weeks, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has been working to bring more attention to a local fight between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board.

Could it be the next Wisconsin — a showdown between a prominent (and newly elected) Republican governor and national labor groups? Haley seems to hope so.

At a press conference packed with prominent Republicans at the Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning, Haley argued that the future of the country is at stake. “This is an issue that may have started in South Carolina, but we want to make sure it never touches another state,” she said. “This an unbelievable attack on not just right-to-work states but every state that’s attempting to put their people to work.”

.At issue is a complaint the NRLB filed against Boeing, claiming the airplane manufacturer decided to build a plant in South Carolina in retaliation for a strike in Washington state. Labor officials say this is merely an attempt to punish attempts at illegal retaliation against striking workers. Republicans say the complaint amounts to an effort to place strictures on companies who want to relocate projects away from unionized plants.

Haley isn’t the only prominent Republican politician who has taken up this fight. “The administration’s pandering to unions has gotten so far out of proportion its difficult to accept,”said Sen. Jim DeMint (R). And the press conference was packed with other well-known Republicans. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) all spoke at today’s press conference.

Given the array of Republicans seeking to elevate the NRLB/Boeing fight, the relative silence of 2012 GOP contenders is notable.

 So far the only top-tier candidate to weigh-in is former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has weighed in, with an op-ed in National Review. Pawlenty also got huge applause for standing with Haley on the issue in last week’s debate.

South Carolina GOP chair Chad Connelly said that the NLRB fight will be “very important” in the state’s 2012 GOP presidential primary.

Democrats dismissed Haley’s trip to Washington as nothing more than a bit of political grandstanding for a politician with national ambitions.

“Going to Washington to complain about the NLRB is a useless gesture,” said South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian . “She’s showcasing herself inside the Beltway for a possible role in the 2012 election.”

Regardless of her motivations, Haley is a coveted endorser in the 2012 primary fight given her national prominence and the state’s critical early role in the nomination fight.

So far, she’s been coy about her preferred candidate, but it’s clear that she wants someone who will stand behind her on specific issues.

And that starts with the NRLB fight. “Tim Pawlenty did a great job stepping up,” Haley said. “I’d like to see every candidate step up [ and say] what they would do about it.”

--------------------------------

Boeing Is Pro-Growth, Not Anti-Union

WSJ
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney

Deep into the recent recession, Boeing decided to invest more than $1 billion in a new factory in South Carolina. Surging global demand for our innovative, new 787 Dreamliner exceeded what we could build on one production line and we needed to open another.

This was good news for Boeing and for the economy. The new jetliner assembly plant would be the first one built in the U.S. in 40 years. It would create new American jobs at a time when most employers are hunkered down. It would expand the domestic footprint of the nation's leading exporter and make it more competitive against emerging plane makers from China, Russia and elsewhere. And it would bring hope to a state burdened by double-digit unemployment—with the construction phase alone estimated to create more than 9,000 total jobs.

Eighteen months later, a North Charleston swamp has been transformed into a state-of-the-art, green-energy powered, 1.2 million square-foot airplane assembly plant. One thousand new workers are hired and being trained to start building planes in July.

It is an American industrial success story by every measure. With 9% unemployment nationwide, we need more of them—and soon.

Yet the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) believes it was a mistake and that our actions were unlawful. It claims we improperly transferred existing work, and that our decision reflected "animus" and constituted "retaliation" against union-represented employees in Washington state. Its remedy: Reverse course, Boeing, and build the assembly line where we tell you to build it. 

The NLRB is wrong and has far overreached its authority. Its action is a fundamental assault on the capitalist principles that have sustained America's competitiveness since it became the world's largest economy nearly 140 years ago. We've made a rational, legal business decision about the allocation of our capital and the placement of new work within the U.S. We're confident the federal courts will reject the claim, but only after a significant and unnecessary expense to taxpayers.

More worrisome, though, are the potential implications of such brazen regulatory activism on the U.S. manufacturing base and long-term job creation. The NLRB's overreach could accelerate the overseas flight of good, middle-class American jobs.

Contrary to the NLRB's claim, our decision to expand in South Carolina resulted from an objective analysis of the same factors we use in every site selection. We considered locations in several states but narrowed the choice to either North Charleston (where sections of the 787 are built already) or Everett, Wash., which won the initial 787 assembly line in 2003.

Our union contracts expressly permit us to locate new work at our discretion. However, we viewed Everett as an attractive option and engaged voluntarily in talks with union officials to see if we could make the business case work. Among the considerations we sought were a long-term "no-strike clause" that would ensure production stability for our customers, and a wage and benefit growth trajectory that would help in our cost battle against Airbus and other state-sponsored competitors.

Despite months of effort, no agreement was reached. Union leaders couldn't meet expectations on our key issues, and we couldn't accept their demands that we remain neutral in all union-organizing campaigns and essentially guarantee to build every future Boeing airplane in the Puget Sound area. In October 2009, we made the Charleston selection.

Important to our case is the basic fact that no existing work is being transferred to South Carolina, and not a single union member in Washington has been adversely affected by this decision. In fact, we've since added more than 2,000 union jobs there, and the hiring continues. The 787 production line in Everett has a planned capacity of seven airplanes per month. The line in Charleston will build three additional airplanes to reach our 10-per-month capacity plan. Production of the new U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tanker will sustain and grow union jobs in Everett, too.

Before and after the selection, we spoke openly to employees and investors about our competitive realities and the business considerations of the decision. The NLRB now is selectively quoting and mischaracterizing those comments in an attempt to bolster its case. This is a distressing signal from one arm of the government when others are pushing for greater openness and transparency in corporate decision making.

It is no secret that over the years Boeing and union leaders have struggled to find the right way to work together. I don't blame that all on the union, or all on the company. Both sides are working to improve that dynamic, which is also a top concern for customers. Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson put it this way following the 2008 machinists' strike that shut down assembly for eight weeks: "If union leaders and management can't get their act together to avoid strikes, we're not going to come back here again. We're already thinking, 'Would we ever risk putting another order with Boeing?' It's that serious."

Despite the ups-and-downs, we hold no animus toward union members, and we have never sought to threaten or punish them for exercising their rights, as the NLRB claims. To the contrary, union members are part of our company's fabric and key to our success. About 40% of our 155,000 U.S. employees are represented by unions—a ratio unchanged since 2003.

Nor are we making a mass exodus to right-to-work states that forbid compulsory union membership. We have a sizable presence in 34 states; half are unionized and half are right-to-work. We make decisions on work placement based on business principles—not out of emotion or spite. For example, last year we added new manufacturing facilities in Illinois and Montana. One work force is union-represented, the other is not. Both decisions made business sense.

The world the NLRB wants to create with its complaint would effectively prevent all companies from placing new plants in right-to-work states if they have existing plants in unionized states. But as an unintended consequence, forward-thinking CEOs also would be reluctant to place new plants in unionized states—lest they be forever restricted from placing future plants elsewhere across the country.

U.S. tax and regulatory policies already make it more attractive for many companies to build new manufacturing capacity overseas. That's something the administration has said it wants to change and is taking steps to address. It appears that message hasn't made it to the front offices of the NLRB.

Mr. McNerney is chairman, president and CEO of the Boeing Co.


--------------------------------------


 
Senator Orrin Hatch
May 10, 2011
National Review Online
 
On April 20, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued one of the most far-reaching and outrageous complaints ever issued by the Board against a private business.  This complaint against The Boeing Company is easily one of the most outlandish and regrettable complaints the NLRB has ever issued and should outrage every American — Republican or Democrat.  
 
So, what happened?
 
In October 2009, Boeing, which operates a huge manufacturing plant in Puget SoundWashington, announced that it would build a new production line for its 787 Dreamliner fleet in South Carolina, a decision that promised billions of dollars in investment and hundreds of new jobs for that state. Best of all, there was no coinciding announcement of layoffs at the Puget Sound facility. In fact, not a single job was lost in the State of Washington as a result of Boeing’s decision. On the contrary, Boeing has added an additional 2,000 jobs inPuget Sound since that time.
 
Added jobs in Washington plus added jobs in South Carolina sounds like a win-win for American workers and America’s economy, particularly at a time when so many companies are opting to do business overseas.
 
But, here’s the rub. Boeing’s plant in Puget Sound was staffed entirely by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, and South Carolina is a right-to-work state. Boeing was not required under its collective bargaining agreement to perform this work in Washington. Even so, the union cried foul.
 
Seventeen months and a billion-dollar investment by Boeing later, the NLRB filed its complaint, which contains no substantive evidence of anti-union animus on the part of Boeing or of an adverse impact on the unionized workers in Washington — both of which are required to demonstrate the type of violation alleged in this case.
 
Sadly, the Board’s borderline frivolous interpretation of the law is not the most appalling part. In addition to wrongfully asserting that Boeing unlawfully transferred bargaining unit work to South Carolina, the NLRB is seeking an order stipulating that this new work cannot be performed in South Carolina and must be moved to Washington. In short, they’ve asserted the right to make Boeing’s business decisions for them.
 
The chilling effect of this complaint will be unmistakable. To borrow from Frank Sinatra, if they can do it there, they can do it anywhere. If the NLRB can do this to South Carolina, disrupting business and killing jobs, it can do it anywhere, including Utah or any other right-to-work state. This is likely the very message the Board is trying to send with the Boeing complaint.
 
This is nothing short of a gift-wrapped present to Big Labor, which is not surprising. To date, the president and congressional Democrats have been unable to enact the most significant parts of their pro-union agenda — such as the Employee Free Choice Act — through the legislative process. So, instead, they have opted to let unelected bureaucrats do their dirty work for them.
 
In this instance, the government-official-turned-union-foot-soldier was the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon. But this is certainly not the first time an agency under the Obama administration has sought to circumvent Congress to help out the unions. Last year, for example, the National Mediation Board (NMB), which regulates labor relations in the transportation sector, overturned 75 years of policy in an attempt to grease the rails in union elections and make unionization the default position of the airline industry.
 
More than just matters of ideology, these types of government actions are debilitating to our economy at a time when we are struggling to recover from one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression.  While these decisions may appease certain political constituencies, they also cost jobs at a time when we are struggling to reduce unemployment.
 
In recent months, President Obama has embarked on the proverbial “move to the middle” in preparation for the 2012 election campaign. In doing so, the president has stated that he wants to improve our nation’s business climate. He has said, in so many words, thatAmerica should be the “best place on earth to do business.” Sadly, I don’t think many in his administration have gotten the memo. Until his administration stops getting in the way of growth and job creation and starts acting on behalf of all American workers — and not just those represented by unions — any pro-growth and pro-business rhetoric on the part of the president will be utterly meaningless.



Thursday
May122011

WaPost: The NLRB hands the Republicans a potent issue

The NLRB hands the Republicans a potent issueWashington PostJennifer RubinMay 11, 2011http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/the-nlrb-hand-the-republicans-a-potent-issue/2011/03/29/AF2hnSqG_blog.html The Fix reports:

For weeks, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has been working to bring more attention to a local fight between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board. . . . . At issue is a complaint the NLRB filed against Boeing, claiming the airplane manufacturer decided to build a plant in South Carolina in retaliation for a strike in Washington state. Labor officials say this is merely an attempt to punish attempts at illegal retaliation against striking workers. Republicans say the complaint amounts to an effort to place strictures on companies who want to relocate projects away from unionized plants.

 Moreover, it’s an issue that has already made its way into the presidential primary: 

[Tim] Pawlenty also got huge applause for standing with Haley on the issue in last week’s debate. South Carolina GOP chair Chad Connelly said that the NLRB fight will be “very important” in the state’s 2012 GOP presidential primary. . . . Regardless of her motivations, Haley is a coveted endorser in the 2012 primary fight given her national prominence and the state’s critical early role in the nomination fight. So far, she’s been coy about her preferred candidate, but it’s clear that she wants someone who will stand behind her on specific issues. And that starts with the NRLB fight. “Tim Pawlenty did a great job stepping up,” Haley said. “I’d like to see every candidate step up [and say] what they would do about it.”

 So how outrageous is the NLRB’s decision? Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Boeing’s president and chief executive Jim McNerney adds some important details: 

Contrary to the NLRB’s claim, our decision to expand in South Carolina resulted from an objective analysis of the same factors we use in every site selection. We considered locations in several states but narrowed the choice to either North Charleston (where sections of the 787 are built already) or Everett, Wash., which won the initial 787 assembly line in 2003. Our union contracts expressly permit us to locate new work at our discretion. However, we viewed Everett as an attractive option and engaged voluntarily in talks with union officials to see if we could make the business case work. . . . Despite months of effort, no agreement was reached. Union leaders couldn’t meet expectations on our key issues, and we couldn’t accept their demands that we remain neutral in all union-organizing campaigns and essentially guarantee to build every future Boeing airplane in the Puget Sound area. In October 2009, we made the Charleston selection. Important to our case is the basic fact that no existing work is being transferred to South Carolina, and not a single union member in Washington has been adversely affected by this decision. In fact, we’ve since added more than 2,000 union jobs there, and the hiring continues. The 787 production line in Everett has a planned capacity of seven airplanes per month. The line in Charleston will build three additional airplanes to reach our 10-per-month capacity plan. Production of the new U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tanker will sustain and grow union jobs in Everett, too.

 If Boeing is going anti-union it’s doing a poor job of it: “We have a sizable presence in 34 states; half are unionized and half are right-to-work. We make decisions on work placement based on business principles — not out of emotion or spite. For example, last year we added new manufacturing facilities in Illinois and Montana. One work force is union-represented, the other is not. Both decisions made business sense.” Can the NLRB really prevent a company from exercising its right under its own collective bargaining agreement to set up a plant in a right-to-work state? In 20 years of practicing labor law that sure wasn’t my understanding of how the federal labor law works. Over at the Heritage Foundation, Hans A. von Spakovsky and James Sherk provide a lawyerly analysis of the case. They cite relevant precedent: 

In the 1969 Supreme Court case, National Labor Relations Board v. Gissel Packing Co., an employer asserted that he had the freedom of speech to make statements to employees that unionization would lead to a strike resulting in a plant shutdown. The Supreme Court said that an employer is permitted to “make a prediction as to the precise effects he believes unionization will have on his company” as long as these predictions are “demonstrably probable.” Federal law is violated, as was the case in Gissel, only when an employer (during a union recognition election) makes a statement that is no “longer a reasonable prediction based on available facts” but rather a threat of retaliatory action if the employees vote to join a union. In the instant complaint, the NLRB has no such evidence of any threats of retaliatory action, only evidence of Boeing talking about the stark economic consequences the company faces because of the constant strikes in Washington — comments that are well within the protected First Amendment free speech rights of employers.

 Then there is this: 

First National Maintenance Corp. v. NLRB, in which the Supreme Court dismissed a similar unfair labor charge against a company for failing to bargain with the union over the closure of a nursing home for economic reasons. In that case, the Court found that Congress “limited the mandate or duty to bargain to matters of ‘wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.’ ” The Court stated that “Congress had no expectation that the elected union representative would become an equal partner in the running of the business enterprise.” Management must be able to make decisions “essential for the running of a profitable business” and “to reach decisions without fear of later evaluations labeling its conduct an unfair labor practice.”

 The authors conclude that the NLRB’s position, if sustained, would “significantly alter that statutory scheme. It would effectively mean that existing companies with any unionized workforce could not expand in right-to-work states, at least not without serious litigation.” The complaint will be heard by an administrative law judge and then probably by the NLRB, heavily stacked in labor’s favor at this point. If needed, Boeing will appeal to the federal appeals court. It’s hard to imagine it will be sustained. (Notice how quiet the administration has been on this one.) And frankly, this is one case the Democrats better hope they lose, that is if they want to deprive Republicans of a boffo campaign issue and keep in play in 2012 some important right-to-work states.

Wednesday
May112011

Townhall: NLRB Attack On Right-To-Work States Is Bad Politics And Worse Economics

 
NLRB Attack On Right-To-Work States Is Bad Politics And Worse Economics
 
Fred Wszolek
May 10, 2011
Townhall
 
Defying efforts by both small and large businesses to create jobs and protect workers, whether union or non-union, President Obama’s labor board, namely the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has undertaken an assault against non-union jobs created in right-to-work states. On two fronts in recent days, the regulatory agency has gone after right-to-work states to the benefit Big Labor bosses, who happen to the top political contributors and supporters of this White House.
 
The NLRB has begun to sue states whose citizens voted to protect themselves from coercion and intimidation by adding secret ballot guarantees to their state constitutions, as well as attempting to deny a major corporation from operating a facility in a right-to-work state, which would create thousands of new jobs.
 
Why is the board attacking right-to-work states in a down economy? Perhaps it is due to the overwhelming and unmistakable connection between this administration and Big Labor bosses whose political spending has propelled not just President Obama to his position, but consequently, their allies into appointed positions of influence within government, starting with agencies such as the NLRB.
 
And it’s not as if union bosses are shying away from bragging about their access and influence. Just a few weeks ago, the president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Richard Trumka said, “I’m at the White House a couple times a week – two or three times a week … I have conversations every day with someone in the White House or in the administration. Every day. And that includes weekends, by the way.”
 
What are they talking about?
 
They are discussing ways to pursue job-killing strategies that reward labor bosses, but hurt job creators.
 
What the NLRB and their union boss friends cannot escape is the overwhelming proof that states with right-to-work laws are more financially and educationally accomplished than states where unionization is forced.
 
It’s no wonder South Dakota and Arizona, two right-to-work states, let the voters speak for themselves guaranteeing a secret ballot election in union organizing elections. By ensuring a secret ballot in this manner, workers are better able to vote their conscience and not be unfairly swayed, or even bullied, by union organizers who desperately seek new members to increase dues. By putting this notion into state law, they sent a message to Big Labor – we do not want forced unionization.
 
At its core, that’s what right to work is about. Right to work protects a worker’s freedom of association. It prohibits agreements between labor unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment.
 
And if that wasn’t enough evidence of the Obama Administration’s gross favoritism and advocacy on the part of union bosses, the NLRB’s ludicrous actions in its complaint against Boeing regarding its new facility in South Carolina should suffice.
 
South Carolina – like many other states – is struggling through a difficult economy and is clearly concerned with bureaucrats inWashington, D.C. advancing policies that increase unemployment and hurt businesses. And the NLRB’s attack against Boeing for deciding to build a new facility in a right-to-work state is just that, government run amok and carrying water for special interests whose agenda takes precedence over the livelihoods of everyday Americans.
 
But to understand the reason for the animus both Big Labor and the Obama Administration have toward right-to-work states, one only has to look at the facts.
 
Unemployment is lower in right-to-work states and home ownership is higher. Right-to-work states produce more highly-educated workers than forced unionization states, and it comes as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of young professionals – 94.3% to be exact, choose to live in right-to-work states.
 
Additionally, in states without forced unionization, employers are more capable of providing health insurance to their employees – something forced unionization states have struggled to do. In the decade between 1999-2009, the number of people covered by any form of private health insurance decreased by 5.7% in forced-unionization states, but in right-to-work states, that number actually increased one percent. The freedom provided by right-to-work states affects the stability of its businesses; therefore, it secures the stability of benefits for workers.
 
And the list goes on and on. By any and just about every measurable indicator, it is more beneficial to live and work in a right-to-work state, which today is under threat by Big Labor and by extension, the Obama Administration and its administrative agents at the NLRB.
 
Thankfully, numerous Members of Congress have stepped up to speak on behalf of their constituents by signing a letter to President Obama demanding that the blatant advocates of Big Labor’s agenda in government namely NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon and Board Member Craig Becker be withdrawn from consideration as nominees to the regulatory agency. As Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina stated, “America will not win the future if Washington penalizes workers in states that have discovered winning economic strategies.”