Bureaucrats Will Resist Efforts to Undo Big Labor Power Grabs

Virulent Right to Work foe Richard Griffin will stay on as the top lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board until November 2017. Image: boilermakers.org

Thumbing their noses at Right to Work supporters and independent-minded employees, and at their allies in Congress, President Barack Obama and his appointees have furnished Big Labor with an array of weapons to force millions of employees into unions over the past eight years.

For example, just this April the Obama Labor Department finalized its “persuader” rule. It is designed to gut employees’ right to hear both sides of the story regarding union representation by making it impractical for employers to seek expert advice regarding their communications with employees during unionization campaigns.

And the month after the “persuader” rule was finalized, the Obama National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its American Baptist Homes of the West decision, sharply curtailing employees’ freedom to work in defiance of Big Labor strike orders. Pro-forced unionism NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce and one other radical Obama appointee found that employers facing a labor stoppage commit an “unfair labor practice” whenever they offer per permanent jobs to nonstriking workers if they are at least partially motivated by a desire to avoid future strikes.

Fortunately, some of the Obama team’s forced unionism-friendly edicts, including the so-called “persuader rule,” have already been turned back in the courts. Other Big Labor power grabs will be relatively easy for President-elected Donald Trump to undo, assuming Trump meant what he said when he identified himself as a strong Right to Work supporter while on the campaign trail.

But some of the Obama Administration’s anti-Right to Work bureaucratic power grabs are unlikely to be blocked by the courts and cannot be overturned by executive order. And the chronic rewriting of federal labor law by the Obama NLRB, which according to one published estimate overturned 91 precedents and more than 4500 years of case law, will surely take years to reverse, if it is ever to be reversed at all. (See the link below for more information.)

One roadblock that will remain in place for most of the first year of the Trump Administration is NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin, whose term won’t expire until November 2017. When union bosses break the law and refuse to grant employees even the limited freedom of choice that federal labor law is supposed to afford them, they typically cannot vindicate their rights without the general counsel’s help.

American Baptist Homes of the West and most of the other damage done to employee rights done by the Obama NLRB stemmed from cases originally heard by administrative law judges. To undo the damage, new cases will have to be brought, make their way through the NLRB bureaucracy, and ultimately be heard by Trump appointees on the board itself.

It is feasible that all of the most egregious expansions of Big Labor’s compulsory-unionism privileges implemented by the Obama NLRB could eventually be rolled back, but that will require a great deal of resolve from the next President and his appointees.

The challenge faced by the Trump Administration from pro-forced unionism “permanent” bureaucrats as well as Obama holdovers is underscored by anonymous emails solicited by and sent to journalist Hamilton Nolan after the November elections.

One NLRB lawyer boasted of his agency’s success at defying the lawmakers who vote for its budget and “weathering” court decisions finding that it had acted outside its legal authority. The lawyer also bemoaned the possibility that a national Right to Work law could be adopted during the Trump presidency.

A Department of Labor employee who emailed Mr. Nolan was also rabidly anti-Trump, but hopeful that the President-elect’s “attention span” will be too short to address the federal bureaucracy’s pro-forced unionism bias!

Trump Faces Legal Challenges In Dismantling Obama’s Legacy – Forbes