At the outset of President Obama’s first term in early 2009, top union bosses were counting on the President to make good in short order on a deal he had cut with them.
In exchange for the billion dollars or more, consisting mostly of forced union dues, that Big Labor had poured into direct and “in-kind” support for the Obama-Biden ticket as well as pro-forced unionism U.S. Senate and House candidates in 2008, the union brass expected a lot from the White House.
They wanted nothing less than a rewrite of federal labor law making it even easier for them to seize monopoly-bargaining power over millions of employees in the American private sector.
But over the past five years, public opposition mobilized by the National Right to Work Committee and other grass-roots groups has hindered President Barack Obama, his congressional allies, and his handpicked bureaucrats from giving Big Labor what it demanded.
Unfortunately for freedom-loving citizens, in 2014 a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made up entirely of members selected by Mr. Obama and rubber-stamped by the Senate is finally poised to impose sweeping changes to decades-old procedures under which Big Labor may obtain monopoly control over workers.
Among the proposals the NLRB is likely to ram through soon are new rules mandating that employers hand over employee phone numbers and e-mail addresses to union organizers at the outset of each certification campaign.
‘Ambush’ Elections Would Deny Workers a Meaningful Vote
Shockingly, less than two years ago, a 54-45 majority of senators voted to give the NLRB a mandate to impose by bureaucratic fiat new federal policies to help Organized Labor increase the share of workers under union monopoly-bargaining control.
In November 2011, Chairman Mark Pearce and Craig Becker, two rabidly anti-Right to Work ex-union lawyers installed on the NLRB by the President, advanced a rule to reduce sharply the current median time frame of 38 days between the filing of a union “representation petition” and the holding of a union election.
As former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow noted at the time, the effect of such a change would be dramatic. It would “utterly and completely deprive employers of the ability to communicate vital information to their employees regarding their rights and the effects of unionization,” charged Mr. Kirsanow.
Of course, once employers are denied enough time to make their case, employees will ipso facto be denied the opportunity to hear both sides of the story before voting on unionization.
“Apologists for the Obama NLRB brazenly claimed that the ‘ambush’ election scheme it launched in late 2011 represented only a few modest changes from practices that had been in place for decades,” recalled Right to Work President Mark Mix.
“In reality, this is nothing other than an underhanded means of gutting what Craig Becker, now the AFL-CIO’s co-general counsel, has called workers ‘choice to remain unrepresented’ — a choice he has indicated time and again he doesn’t think should be legally protected at all.”
Union-Label Senators Helping Big Labor Get Access to Workers’ Personal Information
In April 2012, Right to Work supporters successfully pushed for a Senate roll-call vote on a joint resolution (S.J.Res.36) that would have overturned the NLRB “ambush” election rule adopted in November 2011.
However, Big Labor prevailed upon 54 senators, including several, such as Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who represent Right to Work states and are seeking reelection this year to oppose the rule.
Fortunately, a federal court later found that the NLRB had illicitly adopted the “ambush” election rule without a proper quorum, and, consequently, the rule is invalid.
Now, sadly, this important check on NLRB power grabs no longer matters, because all five positions on the board are filled. Three of the five — Chairman Pearce, former AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Nancy Schiffer, and ex-union lawyer Kent Hirozawa, are radical proponents of expanded Big Labor privileges.
This winter the union hierarchy is back in the driver’s seat, because last fall Senate majorities, once again including Ms. Hagan, Ms. Landrieu, and Mr. Pryor, voted repeatedly to shut down a Right to Work-backed extended debate and rubber-stamp all five Obama NLRB nominations.
Because Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, and Mark Pryor, along with several other senators who in 2014 face potentially tough re-election bids, like Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), have opposed S.J.Res.36 and backed the 2013 Obama NLRB slate, Big Labor is poised to hit the jackpot.
Mr. Mix grimly predicted: “The looming bureaucratic overhaul of procedures for union organizing campaigns will surely include giving union organizers automatic access to employee phone numbers and e-mail addresses as well as giving employees virtually no opportunity to check the accuracy and completeness of union organizers’ claims.”
Candidate Survey Is ‘One of the Committee’s Most Effective Tools’
Mr. Mix vowed that the Committee would work this year with congressional allies to see how the federal purse strings can be used, despite the seemingly long odds, to stop NLRB bureaucrats in their tracks.
“At the same time,” Mr. Mix added, “Right to Work supporters must fight to ensure that the Big Labor senators who have cheered the Obama NLRB on as it sought to strip employees of the ability to resist unionization and helped the President pack the Board with ex-union lawyers are held accountable.”
The federal candidate Survey 2014 is a critical component of the counterattack.
As longtime Committee members know, the federal candidate survey asks candidates to commit themselves to oppose forced unionism and support national Right to Work legislation if elected.
The survey is “one of the Committee’s most effective tools,” observed Mr. Mix.
“Senate and House candidates are given several chances to return their surveys and answer 100% in favor of Right to Work. And millions of grass-roots Right to Work supporters are mobilized to lobby candidates to respond to their Right to Work surveys.”
Union-Label Politicians Can Pledge to Change, or Face Potential Political Fallout
The already-launched federal Survey 2014 will give union-label politicians like Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, and Mark Pryor a choice: pledge to change course and always support Right to Work in the future, or face the potential political fallout.
“Regardless of their party affiliation, union-label politicians and Big Labor appeasers will have no way to hide this year,” concluded Mr. Mix.