In his book “The Audacity of Hope,” then-presidential candidate Barack Obama wrote: “I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don’t consider this corrupting in any way.”
After Big Labor spent nearly $1 billion to get President Obama and his forced-unionism allies elected in 2008, Obama did not disappoint.
Here is a breakdown of the top 10 most outrageous Big Labor paybacks of the Obama administration:
1. Hiding union boss expenditures. Obama started his term strong. Shortly after getting elected, Obama appointed forced-unionism partisan Hilda Solis to run the Department of Labor. Solis, in combination with numerous Obama executive orders, promptly rolled back any (albeit modest) progress in union boss transparency and disclosure that had been made the prior eight years. Now it is even more difficult for workers to know where their forced dues dollars are being spent.
2. Neutering the watchdog. Obama’s first budget slashed funding for the Office of Labor and Management Standards (OLMS), the federal agency that enforces union disclosure laws. It’s one of the few areas of the budget that Obama has proposed cutting.
3. Fox guarding the henhouse. Obama appointed union lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency that administers and enforces federal labor law. Becker was never confirmed by the U.S. Senate because of bipartisan opposition to his nomination. Obama appointed him to the NLRB via recess appointment.
4. Throwing away election ballots. Becker was a key vote in striking down any protections workers had against card-check union organizing drives, despite the fact that he previously participated as a union lawyer in the very case that established those worker protections. These limited protections allowed workers to petition the NLRB for a secret ballot election within 45 days of a coercive card-check union organizing campaign. Ballots from any pending elections to remove a union after a card check were chucked into the trash. This decision directly affected thousands of workers such as Barbara Ivey, a Kaiser IT department employee in Washington State who is now stuck under Service Employees International Union (SEIU) boss control for at least two years.
5. Ambushing workers. The Obama NLRB pushed new rules to make union organizing campaigns as one-sided as possible by ambushing workers into union membership and dues payments. The new rules dramatically shortened the time frame individual workers have to share truthful information with their coworkers about the adverse effects of unionization and to hear their employers’ views on the subject.
6. Compelling employers to promote unionism. The Obama NLRB pushed new rules requiring job providers to post pro-union notices in their facilities. Tellingly, no new requirement was made for unions to post notices informing workers of their right to refrain from union activities or throw out an unwanted union.
7. Persecuting job providers. Obama-appointed NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon used the federal agency to punish Boeing for locating production of its 787 Dreamliner jets in right-to-work South Carolina over non-right-to-work Washington State. The frivolous persecution of Boeing eventually fizzled, but only after the company guaranteed future jobs would go to Washington State, where union bosses get to collect forced dues as a condition of employment.
8. Constitution out on “recess.” Earlier this year, Obama subverted the U.S. Constitution and installed two pro-forced unionism lackeys onto the NLRB as “recess” appointments even though the U.S. Senate was not in recess. Not surprisingly, the NLRB continues to churn out lopsided decisions in favor of union bosses.
9. Runaway (unionism) train. Obama’s appointments to the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency that administers labor law in the railway and airline industries, changed the election procedures of unions organizing under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). The two Obama-appointed NMB members who approved the new rule, Harry Hoglander and Linda Puchala, are former union officials with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) unions, respectively. Both unions are a major part of an American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) union-led coalition that urged the three-member board to discard its election policy of 75 years. The new procedure stacks the deck in favor of unionization by granting a union monopoly bargaining power over railway or airline industry workers if the union acquires support from just a bare majority of eligible workers in an election, no matter how few actually vote. This means that a small bloc of workers could force union boss “representation” on the whole group rather than having a true majority of all workers deciding for themselves.
10. Obamacare(s) for union bosses. The effects of Obama’s pro-forced unionism agenda will be felt long after his stay in the White House ends. Obamacare is full of sweetheart deals aimed at placating union bosses. For example, nonunion medical facilities are basically ineligible to participate in Obamacare’s professional-development grant program for healthcare workers. The funds in this program must be administered jointly with a labor organization — much like the Department of Labor’s grants for construction apprenticeship programs, which have turned into a cash cow for construction industry union officials on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Obamacare is full of these sorts of provisions — provisions that further unionize the healthcare industry.
Mark Mix is the president of National Right to Work.