NLRB Tips Scales of Justice

A new congressional report has determined that the National Labor Relations Board has abandoned its role as an impartial arbitrator and has become an aggressive advocate for big labor:

The National Labor Relations Board — the federal agency tasked with protecting employees from unfair management or union practices — has become a biased advocate for big labor, according to a newly released congressional report.

The blunt assessment was offered in a staff report released Thursday by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.

“The NLRB is supposed to be a fair and neutral arbitrator. It’s supposed to have a firewall between the judges, if you will, and representatives, as a plaintiff,” Issa told Fox News. “Just the opposite is the case.”

The NLRB is designed much like an appeals court. The general counsel serves in a prosecutor-like role, and the five-member board acts as the jury.

As in a court of law, rules forbid the two from communicating about pending cases. But NLRB emails turned over to the committee under force of subpoena reveal many such  ex-parte communications, some of them dealing with the challenge to Boeing’s decision to build a non-union assembly plant in South Carolina to augment production of the highly sought-after 787 Dreamliner.

In one email obtained by the committee, the associate general counsel of the NLRB, Barry Kearney, praised a union press release about the Boeing case, stating, “hooray for the red, white, and blue.”

In another email, reacting to Boeing’s intention to fight the complaint, an NLRB attorney wrote “let the games begin.” And in another, the NLRB’s head of public affairs wrote to the acting general counsel, worried that she “made the Machinists (union) mad.”

Issa said these types of correspondence breach the firewall rules under the National Labor Relations Act. “We need to look at the act and the protections that used to be there and perhaps make this ex-parte communication, which is a rule violation, into a criminal violation,” he said.