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Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Job Killer from Obama

"The mission of law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its mission is to protect property." — Frederic Bastiat (The Law)

When the National Association of Manufacturers polled around 1,000 of its members in July about the National Labor Relations Board’s case to shut down Boeing’s South Carolina plant, costing up to 5,000 potential jobs, the clear majority indicated the union-backed case likely will, or has already, had a negative effect on America’s job creation.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

“Some 60% said the government’s case already has—or could—hurt hiring. Sixty-nine percent said the case would damage job growth. And 49% said capital expenditure plans “have been or may be impacted by the NLRB’s complaint.” Around 1,000 of the association’s 11,000 members contributed to the survey.”

Despite this, however, Barack Obama’s union appointees at the National Labor Relations Board are continuing their assault on America’s job creators with yet another attempt at doing union the bosses’ bidding by skirting Congress to require all employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act to post union notices in the workplace to advise employees of their ability to unionize their company.

According to a NLRB press release [emphasis added]:

“The National Labor Relations Board has issued a Final Rule that will require employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act as of November 14, 2011.

Private-sector employers (including labor organizations) whose workplaces fall under the National Labor Relations Act will be required to post the employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted. Also, employers who customarily post notices to employees regarding personnel rules or policies on an internet or intranet site will be required to post the Board’s notice on those sites. Copies of the notice will be available from the Agency’s regional offices, and it may also be downloaded from the NLRB website.

The notice, which is similar to one required by the U.S. Department of Labor for federal contractors, states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.”

With the exception of airlines and railroads, which fall under the Railway Labor Act and a few other exceptions, most private sector employers (with two or more employees) fall under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act, which means nearly all private sector employers will have to post notices by November 14th, or be charged with an unfair labor practice.

According to Inside the Beltway from Nixon Peabody:

“Failure to post the Notice will constitute an unfair labor practice which may be filed with the NLRB by any person. Further, the failure to post the Notice will be deemed evidence of anti-union animus or motivation where employers are alleged to have interfered, restrained, or coerced or otherwise discriminated against employees to encourage or discourage union membership or activity.”

Objections to the NLRB’s posting from the employer community are, as expected, strong. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) stated in a press release:

The same week the Obama Administration announced it was making an effort to scale back burdensome rules on small businesses, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal government’s labor union advocate, demonstrated an unprecedented overreach of its authority today by issuing a punitive new rule requiring all private-sector employers to post a notice in their business informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

“Just when we thought we had seen it all from the NLRB, it has reached a new low in its zeal to punish small-business owners,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Not only is the Board blatantly moving beyond its legal authority by issuing this rule, it is unabashedly showing its spite for job creators by setting up a trap for millions of businesses.”

Under the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB does not have the authority to broadly impose rules, such as the one issued today. The statute only permits the Board to act when a representation petition or unfair labor practice charge is filed.

Furthermore, the rule sets up a “gotcha” situation for millions of businesses which are unaware of the new rule or unable to immediately comply.”

Whether or not the NLRB’s new mandate will be challenged in court and, ultimately, be rescinded remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, with the Obama’s union agents at the NLRB foisting their agenda on America’s job creators, there is no reason to believe that the administration is serious about growing the economy again.

The National Labor Relations Board is in the news for meddling in Boeing’s decision to build some aircraft in South Carolina rather than in Washington state. To most economists, the idea that a small regulatory board in D.C. should try to centrally plan $1 billion of private business investment is crackers.

However, the vast bureaucratic state in D.C. was built by overactive left-wing lawyers, not free-market economists. Consider that the federal government apparently has complex legal rules to determine when U.S. businesses are allowed to move investment and jobs from one state to another. The NLRB’s General Counsel Lafe Solomon said that in deciding whether it allows businesses like Boeing to adjust their production: “For us, it’s a motive analysis.”

“Motive analysis?” We’ve got obscure labor lawyers in the federal bureaucracy trying to mind-read the nation’s business executives on their huge capital investment decisions? That doesn’t sound like a very good prescription for U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

This NLRB case highlights just one anti-growth and anti-freedom aspect of New Deal-era labor union laws. These laws–particularly collective bargaining–have no place in the modern economy. The NLRB should be abolished. Indeed, the entire National Labor Relations Act of 1935 ought to be repealed, according to Professor Charles Baird in his essay at Professor’s Baird’s essay is well worth the time to read. It details the history, corruptness, coerciveness, and ties to the Democrat Party the unions have had over the past 80 years.

As I pointed out in a previous post unions are coercive and no longer fill a need in our society. As an example: Person A is offered an opportunity by person B to sell his labor (property) to person B. Before A and B reach an agreement person C (the union) enters the room and demands person A join the union and pay person C part of his compensation and that person B will act as the collector of the union dues. Person A says he does not want to join the union so person D (the government) enters the room and says person A has no choice, he has to join the union. Person C then takes the money he receives from person A and gives some to person D so person D will support them in more negotiations. Person A will have no say in how the money is used, even if it for political candidates opposed to his or her beliefs. This, in the words of Fredric Bastiat, is called plunder. It’s the plunder of person A by persons C and D using the law as the weapon of plunder.

Economist Ludwig von Mises noted that “collective bargaining” is a euphemism for “bargaining at the point of a gun.” The system is not based on voluntarism and freedom of association. Voluntary unions would be fine, but current labor laws allow the creation of monopoly unions, which are inconsistent with a free economy and a free society.

This new NLRB fiat requires every business employing two or more workers, with the exception of airline and railroad workers, must post this notice notifying the employees of their union organizing rights. Does this mean my little neighborhood dry cleaners or Chinese take-out joint needs to post the notice? Or how about my brother’s law firm? Do attorneys have the right to organize or will it only pertain to the non-professional staff.

The civil engineering firm I was part owner off had 800 plus employees when I retired. About 300 were unionized field surveyors and it did not matter whether or not if they were “professional” engineers or surveyors, as licensed by the state, they still had to join the union to work in the field. The same professionals working in the office were not required to join a union and I can guarantee 99% of them would reject the union if they tried to organize them. They all felt they were professionals and needed no union to dictate their work rules, status or who they should support with their dues. These employees sold us their labor and we negotiated a fair and acceptable compensation with them. If we did not they could easily find one of our competitors who would. For several years running we were named one of the 400 best civil engineering firms in he nation to work for, as determined by our employees.

My firm was in a free market competition for the labor of our experience and qualified employees who would allow us to grow and better serve our clients. Without our employees would lose clients and go out of business. If we went out of business the employees would not have a job and the compensation that goes with it. Neither of us needed a third party to interfere with this relationship, a third party who would take come of the employees’ compensation for their own largess. We did not need government and their body of regulations to run our business, the marketplace dictated the rules

Now, according to a report in Newsmax the unions, specifically, AFL-CIOUnions Politics President Richard Trumka told reporters that the nation’s largest labor federation will scale back their involvement with the Democratic Party in advance of the 2012 elections.

Evidently Trumka, a frequent White House visitor, is disenchanted with Obama’s efforts to force more and more union tyranny on American business. The article states:

In 2008, unions spent over $400 million for Obama's election. Asked if the AFL’s move is a huge blow to Obama, Democratic pollster Doug Schoen told Newsmax.TV: “Absolutely. Obama needs to get labor back and I think he’ll be courting them furiously in the weeks and months to come."

While Trumka had nothing but scathing words for the tea party movement, he laid out a scenario that very much mirrored the tea party’s grassroots structure and its clout in the GOP. The vision is for big labor to wield the clout that it once had inside the Democratic Party and on the liberal end of the spectrum in American politics.

Trumka made it clear that his plan will cost the Democrats both contributions and labor volunteers in many districts almost immediately. That would cripple key Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in many swing districts on Election Day.

“We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people” Trumka said, according to Politico: “You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure.”

Too bad for Trumka and his tyrannical AFL-CIO. With union membership falling off in traditional manufacturing job Trumka has focused on the service industries and the public sector. This is where the largest increases in union membership have occurred. Even the traditional union members in the building trades are not pleased with the growth in government unions and the large liabilities they are forcing on municipal and state governments. Trumka and his AFL-CIO organizers invested quite a lot in the recent Wisconsin recall elections with little to show for their efforts.

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