Wall Street Journal roundtable:  Right to Work freedom

Wall Street Journal roundtable: Right to Work freedom "almost a life-and-death issue for Indiana"

The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot, Dan Henninger, James Freeman, Dorothy Rabinowitz, Kim Strassel and Collin Levy discuss the individual freedom and business opportunities that Indiana's Right To Work bills bring to the Hoosier state: Gigot:  The first big labor fight of the year is taking shape in the Hoosier State. How Indiana's right-to-work push could change the political and economic landscape in the Midwest. Gov. Mitch Daniels: The idea that no worker should be forced to pay union dues as a condition of keeping a job is simple and just. But the benefits in new jobs would be large. A third or more of growing or relocating businesses will not consider a state that does not provide workers this protection. Gigot: He was reportedly booed by protesters in the statehouse hallways for those remarks in his annual State of the State Address this week, but Gov. Mitch Daniels is hoping to make Indiana the first state in more than a decade to approve right-to-work legislation. It would allow individual workers to decide if they want to join a union and ban contracts that require nonunion members to pay dues once their work site is organized. Republican leaders in the state have made it their top legislative priority this year, but Democrats and their union allies aren't giving up without a fight. So, Collin, we heard last year, after the brawl in Wisconsin, that somehow this was over for a union reform movement. What's--why is it happening in Indiana now? Levy: Well, I mean, I think it is a really interesting situation you see happening in Indiana, because Indiana's this sort of industrial state of the Midwest. And you have a particular situation now where Indiana is poised to achieve enormous competitive advantages over states in the Midwest like Michigan, like Illinois. These are high-taxed, unionized states. And Gov. Daniels has taken this moment to say, "You know, we've already made sort of some significant gains in terms of improving the business climate here. We saw what happened in Wisconsin. But, look, you know, we have an opportunity to lure an awful lot of businesses here if we can make it clear that workers can act as free agents," you know? Unions are portraying this as a radical change, but it's really just about worker freedom. Gigot: Kim, the nearest right-to-work state in the Midwest is Iowa. So how much economic benefit could there be here, really, when you get down to it, for Indiana? Strassel: It's huge. When Mitch Daniels talks about this, he is looking at the South. That is where the epicenter of most right-to-work states have been and where there has been a flood of manufacturers who have moved from the North to the South over recent decades to take advantage of those lower-cost, nonunionized states. And if Indiana could do this, it would be a sort of central pole for people to remain in the Midwest and locate and give an enormous advantage over competitors. Gigot: The last state to try to do this was New Hampshire, believe it or not, which had elected huge Republican legislative majorities in 2010. Tried to pass right-to-work. They did. It was vetoed by the Democratic governor. Indiana Republicans also have big majorities, and it looks like they are poised to do it. Henninger: And I hope they do. I mean, I think this is really almost a life-and-death issue for Indiana. Twenty percent of Indiana's workforce is in manufacturing. That's the highest percentage in the United States.

Indiana Workers Demand Their Right to Work

Indiana Workers Demand Their Right to Work

From the Wall Street Journal: The labor reform story of the year is unfolding in Indiana, which Republicans who dominate the legislature are trying to make the nation's 23rd right-to-work state. Democrats are resorting to the old run-and-hide ploy, but this could be a huge economic boon to the Hoosier State. Big Labor portrays right to work as a radical change, but it merely lets individual workers decide if they want to join a union. In non-right-to-work states, workers typically must pay union dues once their worksite is organized—whether they want to pay or not. This enhances union clout and the cash to dominate state politics. Many industrial and manufacturing businesses only consider right-to-work states as locales for expanding their operations. The nearest right-to-work state in the Midwest is Iowa, so Indiana could set itself further apart from such high-tax, unionized havens as Illinois and Michigan. According to Chief Executive Magazine's annual CEO survey, Indiana has climbed to sixth from 16th among state business climates, thanks to reforms since 2004 under Governor Mitch Daniels. But the state's biggest liability remains its labor market. A Forbes survey last year ranked Indiana 34th in business climate, partially because of a dismal 44th rank in labor "supply," which includes unionization. Democrats in the state House played hooky for three days last week in an effort to deny a quorum for voting on the law. They returned to work yesterday after Democratic leader B. Patrick Bauer acknowledged that they "can't stay out forever." House members face penalties of $1,000 per day for walkouts longer than three days, so the obstruction could get expensive.

Obama NLRB Actions "Unconstitutional"

Obama NLRB Actions "Unconstitutional"

Roger Pilon, a constitutional scholar from the CATO Institute, makes a compelling case that President Obama's outrageous appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are unconstitutional: All of Obama’s appointments yesterday are illegal under the Constitution. And, in addition, as too little noted by the media, his appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is legally futile. Under the plain language of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB, Cordray will have no authority whatsoever. Yesterday, Professors John Yoo and Richard Epstein, writing separately, made it crystal clear that the president, under Article II, section 2, may make temporary recess appointments, but only when the Senate is in recess. Add in Article I, section 5, and it’s plain that the Senate is presently not in recess, just as it wasn’t under Senate Democrats when George W. Bush wanted to make recess appointments. The difference here is that Bush respected those constitutional provisions while Obama — never a constitutional law professor but only a part-time instructor – ignores them as politically inconvenient. Attempts by Obama’s apologists to say the Senate is not in session are pure sophistry and, in the case of Harry Reid, rank hypocrisy, as this morning’s Wall Street Journal brings out. But clear beyond the slightest doubt is the language of the statute (itself unconstitutional on any number of grounds not relevant here). As my colleague Mark Calabria wrote yesterday, “authorities under the Act remain with the Treasury Secretary until the Director is ‘confirmed by the Senate.’”  A recess appointment, even if it were constitutional, is not a Senate confirmation. There is simply no wiggle room in that language that gives Cordray any authority, as litigation will soon make plain.

Obama NLRB Actions

Obama NLRB Actions "Unconstitutional"

Roger Pilon, a constitutional scholar from the CATO Institute, makes a compelling case that President Obama's outrageous appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are unconstitutional: All of Obama’s appointments yesterday are illegal under the Constitution. And, in addition, as too little noted by the media, his appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is legally futile. Under the plain language of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB, Cordray will have no authority whatsoever. Yesterday, Professors John Yoo and Richard Epstein, writing separately, made it crystal clear that the president, under Article II, section 2, may make temporary recess appointments, but only when the Senate is in recess. Add in Article I, section 5, and it’s plain that the Senate is presently not in recess, just as it wasn’t under Senate Democrats when George W. Bush wanted to make recess appointments. The difference here is that Bush respected those constitutional provisions while Obama — never a constitutional law professor but only a part-time instructor – ignores them as politically inconvenient. Attempts by Obama’s apologists to say the Senate is not in session are pure sophistry and, in the case of Harry Reid, rank hypocrisy, as this morning’s Wall Street Journal brings out. But clear beyond the slightest doubt is the language of the statute (itself unconstitutional on any number of grounds not relevant here). As my colleague Mark Calabria wrote yesterday, “authorities under the Act remain with the Treasury Secretary until the Director is ‘confirmed by the Senate.’”  A recess appointment, even if it were constitutional, is not a Senate confirmation. There is simply no wiggle room in that language that gives Cordray any authority, as litigation will soon make plain.

NLRB's Boeing Sham

NLRB's Boeing Sham

The Wall Street Journal looks at the political decision to file a complaint against Boeing and the political decision to withdraw it: What a sham, or scam, or choose a synonym. On Wednesday, the International Association of Machinists approved a new contract with Boeing in which the company agreed to make its 737 Max jet with union labor in Washington state. Yesterday, after getting the machinist all-clear, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dropped its lawsuit against Boeing's investment in South Carolina. Has there ever been a more blatant case of a supposedly independent agency siding with a union over management in collective bargaining? Boeing says the new contract wasn't tied directly to a settlement of the NLRB complaint, and that it always made sense to build the 737 Max in Renton, Washington because its work force has experience on the current 737 and offers natural efficiencies. But it's hard to resist the conclusion that Boeing felt obliged to make the agreement to save its more than $1 billion investment in South Carolina, where it is building 787s. Boeing might have won a legal battle in the end, but first it would have to run through an administrative law judge, then the politicized and Obama-stacked NLRB, and only then would it get to an appellate court. Meanwhile, its investment was in jeopardy and its legal bill was rising.

NLRB's Boeing Sham

NLRB's Boeing Sham

The Wall Street Journal looks at the political decision to file a complaint against Boeing and the political decision to withdraw it: What a sham, or scam, or choose a synonym. On Wednesday, the International Association of Machinists approved a new contract with Boeing in which the company agreed to make its 737 Max jet with union labor in Washington state. Yesterday, after getting the machinist all-clear, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dropped its lawsuit against Boeing's investment in South Carolina. Has there ever been a more blatant case of a supposedly independent agency siding with a union over management in collective bargaining? Boeing says the new contract wasn't tied directly to a settlement of the NLRB complaint, and that it always made sense to build the 737 Max in Renton, Washington because its work force has experience on the current 737 and offers natural efficiencies. But it's hard to resist the conclusion that Boeing felt obliged to make the agreement to save its more than $1 billion investment in South Carolina, where it is building 787s. Boeing might have won a legal battle in the end, but first it would have to run through an administrative law judge, then the politicized and Obama-stacked NLRB, and only then would it get to an appellate court. Meanwhile, its investment was in jeopardy and its legal bill was rising.