On Capitol Hill, in federal court, and at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Right to Work proponents are now helping spearhead efforts to stop the Obama Administration and Big Labor from dragooning hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of additional workers into forced-dues-paying ranks every year.
President Barack Obama instigated his latest showdown with Right to Work proponents on January 4, when he installed three new members on the five-member NLRB through “recess appointments,” despite the fact that the U.S. Senate was manifestly not in recess.
“The phony ‘recess’ appointments to the NLRB that President Obama made at the beginning of this year illegally circumvented at least two sections of the U.S. Constitution,” charged National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.
“First, Article II, Section 2 grants to the chief executive the power to appoint ‘officers of the United States,’ but only ‘by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.’
“The Constitution makes it clear that only in cases when ‘vacancies happen during recesses of the Senate’ may the President make temporary ‘recess’ appointments to offices that normally require confirmation by Congress’s upper chamber.”
President Claims Constitutional Definition of ‘Recess’ Can’t Be Used to Limit His Power
“Second, Mr. Obama and his Justice Department have attempted to justify his so-called ‘recess’ appointments by effectively asserting that it is the President’s prerogative to declare that the Senate is in recess at any moment when the chamber is not actually conducting business,” Mr. Mix continued.
“But the constitutional definition of ‘recess’ in Article I, Section 5 contradicts this theory. That’s why the White House is now contending this provision can’t be used to restrict the President’s appointment power.”
Mr. Mix observed: “One might ask, what prompted the White House to embrace this extraordinary and unprecedented view of executive power? The answer is obvious. Top union bosses publicly egged on the White House to abuse its authority.
“At this time, union bigwigs are relying heavily on NLRB activism to help them corral more workers into union ranks and fill their treasuries with additional forced-dues billions.
“And Big Labor bosses are understandably doubtful that the current Senate would confirm the kind of radical NLRB appointees they want: appointees who are willing and even eager to rewrite federal law so as to greatly intensify its pro-forced unionism bias.
“Union-label Democrats hold a 53-seat Senate majority. But a Right to Work filibuster of a pro-forced unionism nominee lacking any ‘mainstream’ credibility would stand a good chance of success.
“Big Labor wanted NLRB extremists. In order to deliver for this crucial constituency for his re-election bid this year, President Obama was willing to violate the U.S. Constitution,” Mr. Mix explained.
Two 2012 Recess Appointees Have Been Professional Forced-Unionism Advocates
The résumés of two of the recess appointees Mr. Obama named in January include years of employment as professional advocates of compulsory unionism.
One of the new NLRB members, Sharon Block, has over the past couple of years been employed in the Obama Labor Department as deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs. Ms. Block reported directly to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, one of the most rabid proponents of forced unionism on Capitol Hill.
Previously, Ms. Block helped lead the charge for enactment of “card check” forced-unionism legislation as senior labor and employment council for the Senate HELP Committee. At that time, Ms. Block worked directly for dyed-in-the-wool Big Labor partisan Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who passed away in 2009.
Another new NLRB appointee, Richard Griffin, was at the time of his selection employed as the top lawyer for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), notorious for its corruption- and violence-ridden locals in the Northeast and Chicago.
On the board, Ms. Block and Mr. Griffin are almost certain to be soul mates of Obama-appointed Chairman Mark Pearce, another ex-union lawyer.
Employers May Soon Be Forced to Hand Worker Phone Numbers, E-Mail Addresses to Union Dons
Over the next few months, unless they are stopped by Congress or the federal court system, Mr. Pearce, Ms. Block, and Mr. Griffin are poised as a three-member NLRB majority to impose sweeping changes to the current procedures under which Big Labor may obtain monopoly-bargaining power over workers.
Among the harmful proposals Mr. Pearce is admittedly considering are new rules mandating that the employer hand over employee phone numbers and e-mail addresses to union organizers at the outset of each certification campaign.
“Current NLRB rules already seriously infringe on employees’ privacy by requiring employers to hand over their names and their physical addresses to union officials,” said Mr. Mix.
“But the new scheme Chairman Pearce is pushing for would expose employees who don’t sign a union card or promise to vote for a union to even more intense Big Labor intimidation.”
Joint Resolution Now Pending on Capitol Hill Would Overturn Late 2011 NLRB Power Grab
Fortunately, pro-Right to Work members of Congress are now fighting to stop the Obama NLRB from wielding its regulatory powers to eviscerate the limited protections employees who don’t want to join a union have long had under federal law.
Companion joint resolutions (H.J.Res.103 and S.J.Res.63) now before the U.S. House and Senate would overturn a late 2011 Obama NLRB power grab that sharply reduces the normal five-and-a-half week time frame between the filing of a union “representation petition” and the conduct of a union election.
“The Obama NLRB’s ‘ambush’ election scheme is designed to deny employers the time to make their case to their employees regarding the effects of unionization. Ipso facto, employees will be denied the opportunity to hear both sides of the story before voting to unionize,” said Mr. Mix.
“The congressional ‘resolutions of disapproval’ of this cynical power grab are a good first step, and the Committee is supporting them. But much more needs to be done.”
To halt the current, illegally constituted Obama NLRB in its tracks, attorneys for the Committee’s sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia January 13 challenging the constitutionality of all the 2012 appointments.
And on January 30, Foundation attorneys filed motions with the NLRB to disqualify all three 2012 appointees from participating in the Foundation’s six cases pending before the board.
“Right to Work supporters are now prepared to consider all appropriate means, including defunding the NLRB entirely, to protect independent employees and firms,” Mr. Mix concluded.
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