Earlier this week, President Obama confirmed what small business leaders and concerned workers fear most: that he will spare no effort to achieve Big Labor’s goals. The president admits that labor’s top priority, the job-killing, rights-stripping Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA), does not have the votes it needs to pass in the Senate. And with his own words, the president acknowledged that he has unambiguously aligned himself with union bosses seeking to bypass Congress and cram their priorities down the throats of the American people.
“What we’ve done instead [of getting EFCA passed in the Senate] is try to do as much as we can administratively to make sure that it’s easier for unions to operate and that they’re not being placed at an unfair disadvantage,” Obama said.
Considering Big Labor bosses already win the majority of workplace elections, the comments are as dishonest as they are gratuitous.
How is the Obama administration delivering on Big Labor’s agenda administratively? Let me count the ways.
The Obama administration inserted former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) attorney Craig Becker into the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after Beck was rejected by the US Senate. Considering that he has refused to recuse himself on decisions the NLRB makes affecting his former employers and Big Labor friends, Becker’s credibility is in serious question, while his bias is not.
Secondly, in a recent report to the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee, the Obama administration claimed that organizing a union in America is difficult and that that difficulty constitutes a human rights offense. The audacity of this claim is bad enough, but for our own government to make it on an international level is a perfect example of the great lengths to which the president will go to draw attention to Big Labor’s demands.
The third example of the Obama administration’s pro-union boss agenda is the undemocratic regulation put through by the National Mediation Board (NMB). This three-member board, which oversees airline union elections, contains two Obama appointees. Both appointees have ties to airline industry unions and both support a new system of voting that would overhaul a rule that has been in place since 1935. Under the new system, votes not cast would count as votes for union bosses. Under the current system, the NMB recognizes a workplace as unionized if a majority of its workers who vote support unionization.
The new system assumes that workers who do not vote support having someone else in charge of representing their interests. Who proposed this new voting system? The AFL-CIO, Craig Becker’s former employer. And why does the AFL-CIO deserve special treatment? Because union bosses contributed nearly half a billion dollars to get President Obama elected and have demanded “payback.” In the coming months and years, we can expect to see more and more “payback” to Big Labor bosses as this president prepares for his re-election campaign and feels the need to produce results for his biggest benefactor.
More union members translates into increased dues, which, coupled with a pension bailout, is exactly what these union bosses want and, it appears, exactly what Obama intends to give them at the expense of worker freedoms and small business jobs.
Katie Gage is executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).