Time to correct off-course labor board

Brett McMahon President, Miller and Long DC
Font Size:

There are many reasons why individuals choose to go into business in this country. We are blessed to have many freedoms here, including the ability to choose in which state to operate our businesses. Unfortunately — and somewhat typically — the Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is now attempting to govern such basic entrepreneurial economic decisions.

Recently, the NLRB filed a complaint to stop Boeing from completing a new aircraft assembly plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state and one that is generally friendly to business. The reason? Obama’s labor board says the company shouldn’t be free to operate in its interests, despite having faced years of costly strikes by militant unionized employees in Washington State.

Now, you may not work in an airplane factory and it’s even less likely that you own an aircraft company. But the federal government’s attempt to tell one company which states it can and cannot do business in is a threat to the free enterprise system that has been the fertile soil of this nation’s economic strength for decades.

So put yourself in the position of an entrepreneur. If you currently own a business or have ever thought about it, imagine if you did everything in step with every current regulation, permit, law and rule. You not only fill out massive numbers of red-tape forms, but also wait weeks — if not months — on end for the necessary government approvals. After finally navigating these hurdles, you invest heavily in property, buy expensive specialized machinery and tools, and even begin the hiring process. All the hassle and government bureaucracy is ultimately worth it, as you know you will be able to do good business, benefit the economy by adding new jobs, and make a nice profit (which, contrary to what many people in our nation’s capital believe, is not a dirty word).

But then the federal government steps in and says that you must stop because you do not have the approval of a union in a completely different state. They are, in fact, telling you where and how to run your business.

This outrageous action — while not completely unsurprising given the board’s recent blatant Big Labor activism — will send chills throughout the economy if allowed to stand. For an administration that talks so much about creating jobs and not strangling business, the NLRB’s actions speak to an opposite intent.

A few months ago, I was among those who spoke out about how the NLRB was abusing its statutory limitations and should have its funding reviewed. Unfortunately, while it was examined and hearings were held, no serious action has been taken. In fact, not only has the NLRB made this unprecedented action against Boeing, but it has also moved forward on bringing lawsuits against the handful of states where voters approved initiatives in November to cement the right to a secret ballot in their state constitutions (the first complaint was filed this month against Arizona).

The action against Boeing is not an isolated event; indeed, it is only the latest symptom of a greater problem. Obama’s board has curtailed the rights of employees to seek a secret ballot election, shortened the period of time employees and employers may discuss important issues before an election, granted paid union organizers unprecedented access onto private property, cherry-picked employees to form a swarm of micro-union organizing drives that will drive small businesses out of business, and opened charter schools to greater unionization.

If we are serious about righting this economy and enabling lasting job creation, we must not only cut spending and balance the budget but also eliminate actions that strangle business people from being successful. It’s time to ground an agency that refuses to straighten up and fly right.

Brett McMahon is Vice President at Miller & Long Concrete Construction and a spokesman for the Halt The Assault campaign.