Right to Work Has Been Right All Along

Right to Work Has Been Right All Along

Big Labor Spent $1.14 Billion on Politics, Lobbying in 2009-2010 (Source: September 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) A surprising source has confirmed, unimpeachably, that Big Labor spends more than a billion dollars on politics and lobbying per federal campaign cycle. National Right to Work Committee members have for years known this to be true. But poor-mouthing union officials and supposedly nonpartisan monitors of political spending like the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) continue even today to foster a false impression that Big Labor spends less on electioneering and lobbying than Big Business. Unfortunately for the union bosses and their apologists, the very LM-2 forms that private-sector (and some government-sector) unions with annual revenues exceeding $250,000 are required to file with the U.S. Labor Department show unambiguously they control by far the most massive political machine in America. Reported Union PAC Spending Only Tip of the Iceberg In 2003, then-President George W. Bush's Labor Department revised these disclosure forms with the avowed goal of helping the millions of private-sector workers who are forced to pay union dues or fees as a job condition get a better idea of where there conscripted money was going. This was a worthwhile initiative. Current labor laws, as interpreted by federal courts, unjustly authorize the firing of employees for refusal to pay for unwanted union monopoly bargaining, unless the employees are protected by a state Right to Work law.

Ethics Violator: Craig Becker

The American Spectator looks behind the curtain at the man primarily responsible for turning the National Labor Relations Board into a vehicle for big labor advocacy -- former SEIU General Counsel Craig Becker.  But in doing so, Becker violated ethics pledges made by his boss, President Obama. For the last few months, Boeing has been clashing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over its decision to locate a plant in South Carolina. The NLRB argues that the airplane manufacturer illegally moved work from union factories in Washington state to a new $1 billion facility in the right-to-work Palmetto State. NLRB lawyers maintain this is straightforward retaliation against union workers, based on comments allegedly made by Boeing executives themselves. Business leaders have denounced this as an unprecedented bit of federal pro-union advocacy, with the House of Representatives last week voting to halt the Boeing case and others like it. The battle may soon intensify. Federal financial disclosure forms reveal that Craig Becker, a key union-friendly vote on the NLRB, owned stock in Boeing at the beginning of this year. Becker is one of federal agency's Democratic board members. According to documents obtained by the National Right to Work Committee, as of January 2011 Becker owned between $1,001 and $15,000 in Boeing stock, earning between $201 and $1,000 in dividends. This particular public financial disclosure report does not require more specific information. The disclosure already has people detecting a potential conflict of interest. "The fact that Mr. Becker owns or owned stock in Boeing could be extremely detrimental to the NLRB's case against that company," says F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "If Mr. Becker currently owns stock in Boeing then he should recuse himself from hearing the case." Any recusal could imperil the NLRB's ability to take the Boeing case at all. Since former member Wilma Liebman's term expired, the normally five-member board is down to just three members. "The Supreme Court recently ruled that the NLRB must have three members or there will be no quorum," says Vernuccio. "If Becker is not able to sit on the case there can be no decision for Boeing." Another labor policy watcher familiar with Becker's Boeing investment acknowledges it is a relatively small amount of money. "But how big does it have to be before there can be a conflict of interest?" he asks. "It's not like there is a minimum where it would be okay." Becker, a perennial labor lightning rod, has faced calls to recuse himself before. A former lawyer for the AFL-CIO and SEIU, Becker said in a footnote to a June 2010 ruling that he would recuse  himself from cases in which either of those unions was a party. Becker cited compliance with the Obama administration's ethics policy as his reason for bowing out of those decisions.

Obama Bailout Saved Union Power Not Union Jobs

Paul Roderick, writing in Forbes, takes a fascinating look at the Obama bailout of the auto companies concluding that the bailout was needed, not to protect jobs but to protect the union and their power structure: Contrary to popular belief, bankruptcy does not mean companies close their doors and send employees home. This is the false message President Barack Obama tried to sell on his victory tour of Detroit. If General Motors had gone through a normal bankruptcy without taxpayer bailouts, there would still be GM jobs--maybe even more than there are now. We do not know because that was the road not taken. We do know, however, what happened to the airlines that went through bankruptcy. Their planes kept flying, and pilots, mechanics and flight attendants reported to work, even if there were fewer of them. Over the past decade, no industry has had worse breaks than the airlines. They took a huge hit from 9/11. They have been buffeted by fuel prices. The TSA's intrusive airport screening angered passengers. Furthermore, the airline industry is cyclical; it suffers disproportionately from economic downturns. Compared to the airlines, GM has had a cake walk. Indeed, four major airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after 9/11 (US Air and United in 2002; Northwest and Delta in 2005). Each company was restructured by a bankruptcy court according to the rule of law. In each case, creditors took haircuts and employees lost jobs and agreed to concessions in wages and work conditions. Each airline emerged from bankruptcy and continued to operate as a going concern.

New Privileges For Transportation Union Chiefs?

New Privileges For Transportation Union Chiefs?

    Principled U.S. House Leadership Can Thwart Big Labor Power Grab (Source: September 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) Over the next few weeks, the U.S. House will have the opportunity to turn back a Big Labor-inspired bureaucratic rewrite of the procedures through which union officials acquire monopoly-bargaining privileges under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). If self-avowedly pro-Right to Work House leaders and rank-and-file members blow this opportunity, another one won't come for a long time. In June 2010, President Obama's two appointees on the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB) instituted an RLA rule change making it far easier for airline and railroad union chiefs to acquire monopoly power to negotiate employees' pay, benefits, and work rules. NMB members Harry Hoglander and Linda Puchala, the two Obama-selected bureaucrats favoring the rule change, are both ex-union bosses. They overturned decades-old procedures previously supported by GOP and Democratic presidential administrations alike. Union Monopoly Bargaining Hurts Employees and Businesses Federally-imposed "exclusive" (monopoly) union bargaining undermines efficiency and productivity by forcing employers to reward equally their most productive and least productive employees. The damage is compounded when the employees already hurt by being forced to accept a union bargaining agent opposed to their interests are then forced to pay dues or fees to the unwanted union.

'Without Any Warning, the Rules Have Changed'

'Without Any Warning, the Rules Have Changed'

  New York Times Pundit: Reckless Obama NLRB 'Paralyzing' Economy (Source: September 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) For years, New York Times commentator Joe Nocera has been one of the most relentless champions of government regulation of business and "stimulus" spending in the American media. When even Mr. Nocera starts agreeing with critics of a presidential administration that it has gone "too far" in interfering with the decision-making of businesses and their employees, that administration clearly has a serious problem. Therefore, Mr. Nocera's August 23 Times column about the ongoing effort by Acting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Lafe Solomon to dictate where businesses may or may not expand should have set off alarm bells at the White House. Mr. Solomon's immediate target is Boeing and its employees in Right to Work South Carolina. In April, he filed a complaint against the company, America's biggest exporter of manufactured products, for initiating a new 787 Dreamliner assembly line in North Charleston. As Mr. Nocera observed in his column bemoaning this Solomon power grab, "Boeing's aircraft assembly has long been done by its unionized work force in Puget Sound, Wash." Indeed, seven Dreaminers will still be assembled each month in Puget Sound. "The South Carolina facility," Mr. Nocera explained, "is a hedge against the possibility" that International Association of Machinists (IAM) union kingpins will order unionized employees in Puget Sound out on strike, and thus "shut down production of the Dreamliner." A 'Mind-Boggling Stretch' To Characterize Boeing's Strategy as 'Retaliation'

'Without Any Warning, the Rules Have Changed'

'Without Any Warning, the Rules Have Changed'

  New York Times Pundit: Reckless Obama NLRB 'Paralyzing' Economy (Source: September 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) For years, New York Times commentator Joe Nocera has been one of the most relentless champions of government regulation of business and "stimulus" spending in the American media. When even Mr. Nocera starts agreeing with critics of a presidential administration that it has gone "too far" in interfering with the decision-making of businesses and their employees, that administration clearly has a serious problem. Therefore, Mr. Nocera's August 23 Times column about the ongoing effort by Acting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Lafe Solomon to dictate where businesses may or may not expand should have set off alarm bells at the White House. Mr. Solomon's immediate target is Boeing and its employees in Right to Work South Carolina. In April, he filed a complaint against the company, America's biggest exporter of manufactured products, for initiating a new 787 Dreamliner assembly line in North Charleston. As Mr. Nocera observed in his column bemoaning this Solomon power grab, "Boeing's aircraft assembly has long been done by its unionized work force in Puget Sound, Wash." Indeed, seven Dreaminers will still be assembled each month in Puget Sound. "The South Carolina facility," Mr. Nocera explained, "is a hedge against the possibility" that International Association of Machinists (IAM) union kingpins will order unionized employees in Puget Sound out on strike, and thus "shut down production of the Dreamliner." A 'Mind-Boggling Stretch' To Characterize Boeing's Strategy as 'Retaliation'