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Entries in NLRB (189)

Friday
Jun032011

WFI - President Obama’s NMB & NLRB Compete For Job-Killing Title

Regulatory Agencies Reward Union Bosses, Punish Workers
 
Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2011) – The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) today issued the below statement in response to the National Mediation Board (NMB) following up on the actions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and attacking an American employer:
 
“There is a closely watched match playing out in Washington, D.C. to determine which one of President Obama’s regulatory agencies is the biggest job-killer.  It is hard to determine whether the National Mediation Board or the National Labor Relations Board has a more radical agenda intended exclusively to ‘payback’ union bosses, while hurting employees and employers,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).  “Just yesterday, Big Labor’s subordinates at the National Mediation Board launched a frivolous investigation against an airline because its workers rejected the entreats of union bosses seeking to stuff their coffers.  After changing a rule in place for nearly a century requiring a majority of workers to vote in favor of creating a collective bargaining unit, the National Mediation Board’s forced unionization campaign against airline and railroad workers continues.  Irrespective of which regulatory board is the biggest job-killer, what is clear is that President Obama will need to address the destructive policies of his agencies as he seeks support from workers and job creators in an effort to maintain his own employment next fall.”
 
 
BACKGROUND:
 
National Mediation Board Follows National Labor Relations Board’s Lead And Attacks Employer:
 

“The National Mediation Board said Wednesday it will conduct a full-blown investigation into allegations by a flight attendants union that Delta Air Lines Inc. interfered in last year's fractious organizing drive at the world's second-largest airline by traffic. … Delta is the only major U.S. carrier to remain largely nonunion.  The probe could heighten political scrutiny of the NMB, amid allegations by Republicans on Capitol Hill that the federal agency has a pro-union bias.  The National Labor Relations Board, which oversees other industries, also has come under fire from Republicans in recent months for pro-labor rulings.  Last month the NLRB challenged Boeing Co.'s plans to add a non-union production line in South Carolina, bypassing its unionized plant in Washington state.  Last fall, unions lost their bid to represent 50,000 Delta flight attendants, ramp workers and reservation and gate agents.  It was the largest such referendum at a U.S. company since more than 70,000 workers organized at a Ford Motor Co. plant in 1941.” (Mike Esterl, “Delta Probed On Union Drive,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/1/11)

Friday
Jun032011

ALG - Unemployment Rate Jumps to 9.1%

June 3, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson released the following statement on the unemployment situation in our nation:

"There should not be any remaining doubters that Obama's big government spending and the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policies are two of the most disastrous economic policies in American history.

 

"Almost 14 million people who want a job can't find one, as the number of unemployed jumped by 167,000 people in the past month.  Almost 20 percent of the workforce is either unemployed or working part time when they want a full-time job. Obama's economic plan has been tried and has failed the American people and now we have to return to fiscal sanity in order to get our economy moving.

 

"The only people who don't understand that we can't continue digging to get out of the debt hole that is killing our country's future are the President and Capitol Hill Democrats, who continue to cling to the very fiscal policies that have buried our nation in debt and are threatening to consign a generation of Americans to second-class status in the world.

 

"I hope that the good that comes out of the pain of millions of unemployed is that our nation's elected leaders finally come to the realization that significant cuts must be made in our federal budget, job-destroying regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) must be reigned in, and our highest in the world corporate tax must be lowered immediately to put America back to work."

Wednesday
Jun012011

WFI: Obama Administration Hypocritical On NLRB

Washington, D.C. (May 31, 2011) – The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) today released the following statement in response to the Obama Administration refusing to address meaningfully developments concerning its National Labor Relations Board, yet communicating with the regulatory agency regarding budgetary issues:
 
“The Obama Administration is trying to have it both ways on the National Labor Relations Board and in the process exhibiting extreme hypocrisy not lost on small business owners across the country.  First, President Obama nominates labor radicals like Lafe Solomon and Craig Becker to the regulatory agency; secondly, when Obama’s nominees do Big Labor’s bidding the White House ducks the issue by stating the agency is ‘independent’; and lastly, as the administration tries to distance itself from the NLRB, the Office of Management and Budget remains in communication with the regulatory agency over budgetary issues,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).  “President Obama may think he can dance around the actions of the NLRB and avoid responsibility for its job-killing agenda, but the American people understand his name is written all over the agency’s decisions resulting in severe hardships for job creators across the country.  The fact that the Obama Administration pretends to know little about what its radical nominees are doing at the NLRB, while at the same time sharing open lines of communication on budgetary issues is both intellectually insulting and incredibly transparent.”  
 
 
BACKGROUND:
 
President Obama’s Office Of Management And Budget Communicates With President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board On Budget:
    
“The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had an independent agency take down a stinging press release aimed at the House Republicans' budget proposal, according to a newly released document.  In an e-mail obtained by The Hill under a Freedom of Information Act request, an OMB official told a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officer she should have checked before sending out a Feb. 18 press release titled, ‘Top NLRB officials respond to House budget proposal.’  The NLRB statement slammed what was then the GOP’s proposed continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2011.  On the day the labor board’s statement was published, Michael Lazzeri, OMB's examiner for the NRLB, wrote to Shanti Ananthanayagam, the labor board’s budget officer, and asked her to take it down.  ‘In case didn’t get my vmail.  That press release needs to come down from your website.  In the future you guys have to clear that stuff with us,’ Lazzeri wrote to Ananthanayagam in the e-mail.  The press release quoted NLRB Chairwoman Wilma Liebman and Lafe Solomon, the board’s acting general counsel, as saying the funding cuts would lead to agency delays and ‘would occur at a great cost to working people and responsible employers trying to survive in this difficult economic climate, and would have the potential to destabilize relations between labor and business.’  They also said the proposed budget cuts would reduce the agency’s annual funding by 18 percent, or $50 million, which could lead to furloughs for all of the labor board’s 1,665 employees for 55 workdays.  The press release was subsequently taken down.  In its place on the labor board’s website is a bland statement that says, ‘The content in this statement has been removed.  For further information on this subject, please see the President’s Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) regarding the budget, which can be found on the OMB website.’  OMB asking the labor board to take down the press release was first reported by The Huffington Post.  Asked why the press release was taken down, a spokeswoman for the labor board referred questions to OMB.  ‘In accordance with longstanding clearance procedures in Circular A-11, agencies are asked to clear such comments through OMB.  In this case, the language on budget-related legislation had not been cleared, so it was taken down,’ said Meg Reilly, an OMB spokeswoman.  Circular A-11 is a memo sent by OMB to federal agencies regarding the president’s budget proposal.  The memo states that communications to Congress or the media about the president’s budget proposal need to receive clearance from OMB before being sent out, including ‘proposed press releases relating to the president’s budget.’” (Kevin Bogardus, “Obama Official Ordered Labor Board To Pull Rebuke Of GOP Budget,” The Hill, 5/29/11)
 
White House Refuses To Address Job-Killing Actions By Its National Labor Relations Board:
 

“White House Press Secretary Jay Carney deflected a question on National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) actions against the Boeing Company in South Carolina on Wednesday, and the state’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley isn’t pleased.  ‘Well, it’s obviously been in the news, so we are aware of it, but I would refer any questions about it to the NLRB because it is an independent agency, and we do not get involved in particular enforcement matters of independent agencies,’ Carney said.  ‘I don’t have a reaction to this from the President.  And I think the fact that he’s weighed in on outside issues doesn’t mean that he will weigh in on an independent agency’s enforcement action.’” (Matthew Boyle, “Carney Ducks NLRB Question With ‘Independent Agency’ Defense, Gov. Nikki Haley Not Pleased,” The Daily Caller, 5/11/11)

Saturday
May282011

NLRB and Rats... 

Fed says unions have legal right to display giants inflatable rats during labor disputes

The Associated Press
May 26, 2011

Federal regulators say union activists have the legal right to display giant inflatable rats outside companies during labor disputes.

The National Labor Relations Board says putting up a 16-foot-tall rat balloon is allowed even if the business is not directly involved in the conflict between the union and another employer.

The Carpenters union and other labor groups often use the giant rat as a form of street theater. The goal is to shame companies that hire outside contractors who refuse to use union workers or pay union-scale wages.

The case was closely watched by business groups who claim the giant rat is too coercive and confrontational. But the labor board says the rats are a form of symbolic speech that don’t interfere with business activity.

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Republican Leaders Reaffirm Urget Need for Oversight of NLRB
Congressman John Kline
Press Release
May 26, 2011
Today, the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) held a hearing on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and corporate campaigns. 

During the hearing, members discussed recent NLRB actions to expand the use of corporate campaigns, as well as  the potential impact of the NLRB's recent complaint against The Boeing Company on the nation's workforce. The use of corporate campaigns can have a chilling effect on job creators, as well as threaten the livelihood of workers.

During his opening remarks, Rep. Roe emphasized the urgent need to oversee actions taken by the board. "We must remember the board does not operate in a vacuum,” Rep. Roe said. “It is an arm of the federal government, and its decisions govern virtually every private workplace in the nation. That is tremendous power that comes with a great responsibility to act on behalf of the public good. I am concerned the board has jettisoned this responsibility over the last two years in favor of an activist agenda designed to advance the cause of Big Labor over  the rights of every day workers."

House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline also commented on the need for increased scrutiny of the NLRB’s actions, stating, “In this administration, I think we have an outrageous overreach of the board and I am doing what I can do to provide oversight to that board. It is very powerful. It is powerful beyond what we imagined it could be, and we need to exercise checks and balances."

The Chairman continued, "More to the point raised earlier, this Committee is authorized – indeed obligated – to conduct oversight of the agencies and entities within its purview and the actions those agencies and entities take.  And, that is an obligation that we take seriously." 

Some leaders in Washington question the need for Congressional oversight of the NLRB, preferring to allow an activist board to proceed unchecked.  However, when asked directly by Rep. Roe whether the committee has a responsibility to monitor the NLRB’s actions, witness Jonathan Fritts answered affirmatively.

In closing his remarks, Rep. Roe noted, "The committee has pledged to make job creation and American competitiveness its leading priorities. We have a job to do and that includes overseeing the various boards, agencies, and departments within our jurisdiction to ensure they do not undermine the strength of our workforce."


To read testimony and view other documents and video from today’s hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

Friday
May272011

WFI - NLRB Continues to Stay in the Headlines 

 

Committee requests NLRB documents about Boeing, unions

Charleston Regional Business Journal

Matt Tomisic and Ashley Fletcher Frampton

May 26, 2011

http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/news/39797-committee-requests-nlrb-documents-about-boeing-unions

The House Oversight Committee is requiring the National Labor Relations Board to hand over documents by Friday about its complaint against Boeing Co. and its investigation of union election laws in four states — including South Carolina.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Reps. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent Lafe Solomon, acting general council of the NLRB, a letter May 12 requesting four categories of information:

  • Materials relating to the investigation of Boeing, including communications from the Office of the General Counsel and the NLRB
  • Documents, emails, call logs and communications among the office, the NLRB and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
  • Documents, emails, call logs and communications among the office, the NLRB and Boeing
  • Documents related to investigations of union election laws in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah, all of which have passed amendments requiring secret ballot votes for union elections.

On April 20, the NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing over its expansion to South Carolina, where the company is building a second final assembly and delivery facility for its 787 Dreamliner. The first line is in Everett, Wash. Boeing already operates two plants adjacent to Charleston International Airport in North Charleston to manufacture and integrate sections of the 787.

According to the complaint, the expansion illegally transferred work to nonunion facilities in North Charleston, and the NLRB is calling for Boeing to open another assembly line in Washington state. Boeing opened the North Charleston facility because of past union strikes in Washington state and to prevent future strikes, according to the complaint.

Separately, in January, Solomon advised Arizona, South Dakota, Utah and South Carolina that unless they blocked enforcement of constitutional amendments requiring secret-ballot votes for union elections, the NLRB would sue.

On May 6, the NLRB filed a lawsuit challenging the amendments in Arizona and South Dakota. South Carolina and Utah have similar amendments, but the NLRB said that, to conserve resources, it decided not to file lawsuits against those two states. Solomon notified them, however, that the labor relations board reserves the right to sue later.

Solomon said that the National Labor Relations Act gives private-sector employees two options for organizing. The first is the collection of signatures expressing support for union representation, leaving it up to the employer to recognize the union. If the employer does not recognize the union voluntarily, a secret-ballot election — the second option — must be held.

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

Obama versus Boeing

House GOP Takes Aim At Job-Killing Regulators

 

Editorial

May 26, 2011

The Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/25/obama-versus-boeing/

 

House Republicans are fighting back against President Obama’s misuse of administrative power to punish right-to-work states. On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Scott introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The agency wants to force the airline manufacturer to close up operations in Charleston and move the jobs to Puget Sound, where the labor bosses reign, because setting up in South Carolina was allegedly an example of “unfair labor practices.”

 

The Job Protection Act would, if enacted, clarify that federal law gives the NLRB no power to decide where any U.S. company should or should not do business. “For the NLRB to punish a company for locating in a right-to-work state is an abuse of federal executive power,” Mr. Scott explained to The Washington Times’ Emily Miller. “This administration has clearly overstepped its bounds through the inappropriate actions of an unelected regulatory board.”

 

Mr. Scott’s district would take a big hit if the plant, which is slated to open for production in July, were to close its doors. The facility would create at least 4,000 direct hires from Boeing and an estimated 4,000 indirect hires. Local suppliers and others firms in nearby communities would also receive a boost from the large production order. “Unemployment in South Carolina is above 9 percent,” Mr. Scott said. “This isn’t helping.” Mr. Scott called for Mr. Obama to fire the man responsible for the decision, NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, saying, “Taxpayers should not be paying a salary for someone whose actions are destroying jobs.”

 

House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, Minnesota Republican, has been trying to secure documents from the NLRB related to the Boeing case. So far he has received a short reply and no documents from the agency. “The NLRB is not immune from congressional oversight or public scrutiny,” Mr. Kline said in a statement. The committee is requesting information on the Boeing case because “there are legitimate questions over public statements made by NLRB officials and the timing of its complaint.” The NLRB needs to come clean on how and why it has taken action against Boeing.

 

The way the White House has treated this major employer is a perfect example of why unemployment stands at 9 percent. Instead of allowing the Boeing’s leadership team to make the decisions in the best interest of its employees and shareholders, unelected Beltway bureaucrats demand the right to substitute their personal judgment. It’s just a bit suspicious that the NLRB decision appeals to the liberal union demographic that is going to be playing such a key role in the 2012 elections.

 

If Mr. Obama wants a second term, he ought instead to focus on doing what it takes to get America working. The only way to move the needle on unemployment is to get businesses hiring again, which will happen when government gets out of the way.

_________

Labor's Hail Mary Pass
Harold Meyerson
May 24, 2011
The Washington Post
 
This is a maddening time for anyone concerned about the lives of working-class Americans. The frustration and anger that suffused AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s declaration last week that labor would distance itself from the Democratic Party was both clear and widely noted. Not so widely noted has been a shift in the organizing strategy of two of labor’s leading institutions — Trumka’s AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union — that reflects a belief that the American labor movement may be on the verge of extinction and must radically change its game.
 
It took a multitude of Democratic sins and failures to push Trumka to denounce, if not exactly renounce, the political party that has been labor’s home at least since the New Deal. In a speech at the National Press Club last Friday, Trumka said that Republicans were wielding a “wrecking ball” against the rights and interests of working Americans. But Democrats, he added, were “simply standing aside” as the Republicans moved in for the kill.
 
The primary source of labor’s frustration has been the consistent inability of the Democrats to strengthen the legislation that once allowed workers to join unions without fear of employer reprisals. American business has poked so many holes in the 1935 National Labor Relations Act that it now affords workers no protections at all. Beginning with Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, every time the Democrats have held the White House and strong majorities in both houses of Congress, bills that strengthened workers’ rights to unionize have commanded substantial Democratic support — but never quite enough to win a Senate supermajority. And during that time, the unionized share of the private-sector workforce has dwindled from roughly 30 percent to less than 7 percent.
 
Many union activists viewed the 2009-10 battle for the most recent iteration of labor law reform — the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) — as labor’s last stand. EFCA could never attain the magic 60-vote threshold required to cut off a filibuster, despite the presence, at one point, of 60 Democratic senators. Given the rate at which private-sector unionization continues to fall (which in turn imperils support for public-sector unions), many of labor’s most thoughtful leaders now consider the Democrats’ inability to enact EFCA a death sentence for the American labor movement.
 
“It’s over,” one of labor’s leading strategists told me this month. Indeed, since last November’s elections, half a dozen high-ranking labor leaders from a range of unions have told me they believe that private-sector unions may all but disappear within the next 10 years.
 
While some unions still wage more conventional organizing campaigns, the campaign that best captures the desperation of American labor today is that of the SEIU. Perhaps the best-funded and most strategically savvy of American unions, SEIU has embarked on a door-to-door canvass in the minority neighborhoods of 17 major American cities. The goal isn’t to enroll the people behind those doors in a conventional union but, rather, into a mass organization of the unemployed and the underpaid that can turn out votes in 2012 and act as an ongoing pressure group for job creation and worker rights during (presumably) Barack Obama’s second term.
 
“We realized we could organize one million more people into the union and it wouldn’t in itself really change anything,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry told me earlier this year. “We needed to do something else — something more.”
 
The SEIU’s program — like its semi-counterpart in the AFL-CIO’s Working America program, a door-to-door canvass in white working-class neighborhoods — will surely help Democratic candidates, despite the frustrations that nearly all labor leaders feel toward the party. But, like Working America, it signals a strategic shift by American labor, whose ranks have been so reduced that it now must recruit people to a non-union, essentially non-dues-paying organization to amass the political clout that its own diminished ranks can no longer deliver. Since labor law now effectively precludes workplace representation, unions are turning to representing workers anywhere and in any capacity they can. It’s time, they’ve concluded, for the Hail Mary pass.
 
The unions’ support for the Democrats’ party committees has already diminished considerably, though, as Trumka made clear last week, they will continue to support individual pro-union Democrats. But the greater change in union strategy is the one that’s been forced upon them. They are going outside the workplace. They have no place else to turn.