Turning the Tables on Tom Harkin

Union water-carrier Sen. Tom Harkin (D-AFL-CIO) held a hearing last week in the Senate to promote more forced unionism but the Republican minority turned tables on the Chairman.

Sen. Mike Enzi called one witness — Michael Luttig, the general counsel of Boeing who spoke at length about the NLRB’s war on freedom of choice and Right to Work.

Pajamas Media reported:

Luttig, the general emphasized that a union strike in 2008 in Washington shut down production of the 787, costing Boeing more than a billion dollars and “damaging Boeing’s reputation for reliability with its airline customers, suppliers, and investors.” Boeing took into account many different factors in making a major assembly investment decision, and the recurring strikes in Washington was just one of them.

This action by the pro-union NLRB is an abuse of the applicable law and precedent, and seems to be a political move made to placate the unions that will be crucial to the election efforts of Democrats next year, including President Obama. It is also an attack on right-to-work states like South Carolina.

The NLRB action has raised the ire of everyone from the governor and Representative Joe Wilson, to Senators Jim DeMint and Lamar Alexander. Luttig’s testimony made the NLRB the focus of the hearing, something that would otherwise not have happened because Harkin would never have called a hearing to specifically discuss this issue.

Harkin was clearly annoyed at the turn that the hearing took. He muttered about his coal mining father and the unfair attacks on unions and the NLRB. But the political danger of the NLRB action was demonstrated by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who given his background in suing corporations, is not generally seen as “pro-business.”

Blumenthal went out of his way to be nice to Luttig and Boeing, the biggest American export company with $29 billion in overseas sales in 2009. That might also be due to the fact that Boeing suppliers spend more than a billion dollars in Connecticut.