President Barack Obama’s administration continues its private sector unionization efforts, this time with the historically “politically neutral” National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A newly proposed rule from the NLRB would require private sector companies to post employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act, the legislation that gives employees the “right” to unionize, in their workplaces.
Former Department of Labor Solicitor Greg Jacob told The Daily Caller these unionization efforts are a misuse of the NLRB’s power, especially because there is no legal basis whatsoever for what that board is trying to do.
“We’re all familiar with posting requirements of various other federal agencies. The EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] has postings, the Wage and Hour division have postings about your wage and hour rights, but all of those are provided for in law,” Jacob said in a phone interview. “Here, there is no such provision the NLRA saying any kind of posting like this should be required.”
Tommy Eden, an Alabama and Georgia lawyer who has written extensively on the Obama administration’s pandering to Big Labor, told TheDC that it’s typical for an administration to use the NLRB for policymaking but playing these kinds of political games with the organization is “highly unusual.”
“The National Labor Relations has always been neutral in these issues. At this point, now, they’re trying to mandate employers post a posting in favor of unions,” Eden said in a phone interview. “This is basically getting into the battle between employers and unions over the hearts.”
Jacob, who served as Solicitor during the Bush Administration, said the NLRB is supposed to act as an independent organization that doesn’t report to the president or his political appointees, but the most pro-union member of that board, Craig Becker, owes his job to Obama making the appointment in recess. Becker worked with the AFL-CIO and SEIU on behalf of unionization efforts for years before Obama appointed him to the NLRB. Jacob told TheDC Obama had to appoint Becker to his current spot during recess because Becker is “too extreme.”
“He didn’t get through the confirmation process because he was too extreme,” Jacob said. “He’s on there now to push the union agenda. That was part of the give to the unions for all the money that they spend.”
This rule proposal, Jacob said, is also political payback to the unions after Obama failed to get the Employee Free Choice Act, or card-check, passed. That card-check legislation would have allowed unions a streamlined certification process.
“From their perspective, it’s not really about whether they have a good legal basis to do it or whether or not it’s within their authority,” Jacob told TheDC. “It’s about that the administration failed to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed, the unions’ top priority in the last two years, and they need to do something.”
The proposed rule is open for public comments until Feb. 22, but Jacob said he doesn’t expect the NLRB to actually listen to those public comments, no matter what they say. He said the NLRB went into this “on a very, very shaky legal foundation at best,” and that it’s pretty clear NLRB members are more interested in their pro-union agenda than in upholding the law.