WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 17, 2012 -
Later today, President Obama will visit a Boeing plant in Everett, Washington to tout his administration’s manufacturing policies. At a similar event held earlier this week in Wisconsin, the president discussed the opportunities that “exist right now to bring jobs and manufacturing back to the United States of America.”
Unfortunately, some of those opportunities are being undermined by the actions of the president’s own National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Two actions in particular have created a great deal of uncertainty that may force America’s employers to seek opportunities outside the United States.
Picking Winners and Losers in a Labor Dispute
Before the NLRB was a household name, it was a largely unknown federal agency charged with enforcing labor law fairly and objectively. However, that all changed last year when the Obama NLRB filed a legal complaint against The Boeing Company for building a plant in South Carolina instead of the more union-friendly Washington state, trying to force this employer to move thousands of jobs across the country.
Following months of legal wrangling, the NLRB mysteriously decided to withdraw the complaint just days after Boeing agreed to a new labor contract with its Washington union. Or was it so mysterious? Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill exclaimed that the labor dispute process workers. But that is true only if you believe the federal government should pick sides in a labor dispute and use taxpayer dollars to bully a private employer. As the Wall Street Journal noted:
As for the NLRB, its decision to drop the case so quickly after the machinists cut their deal exposes how politically motivated the Boeing suit was. The NLRB is supposed to be a fair-minded referee in labor disputes, making sure neither side breaks the law. But the board put its fist squarely on the union side…
America’s manufacturers apparently share the same view. Last year, they were asked whether the NLRB’s Boeing complaint would negatively impact their hiring decisions and 60 percent said YES. One witness at a congressional testimony stated the NLRB’s job-destroying complaint caused Canadian employers to question whether to do business in the U.S. – a clear indication the board’s agenda threatens opportunities for American workers.
Stifling Employer Free Speech and Worker Free Choice
Despite winning roughly 70 percent of all elections, Big Labor has been trying for years to undermine a workers right to a secret ballot and his or her ability to make an informed decision in a union election. In June of last year, the Obama NLRB introduced sweeping changes to the rules governing union election, changes that would allow an election to take place in as little as 10 days by undermining employer free speech and worker free choice.
Larry Getts, an employee of Dana Corporation, testified last year that this radical proposal is “intended only to make it easier for union officials to harass and force workers like myself into joining their union, into paying dues and increasing the union bosses’ power.”
Instead of land of freedom and opportunity, the Obama NLRB is stacking the deck against workers and employers. One employer said of this ambush election scheme:
These proposed “quickie elections” are not about helping workers make informed decisions. In fact, these elections would accomplish exactly the opposite.
The impact of this decision in clear: American businesses will have yet another reason to invest elsewhere rather than in creating new jobs here at home.
A Sure Approach to Promote American Manufacturing
If the president really wants to ensure the promise of American manufacturing can become a reality, we hope he will support Republican efforts to protect workers and employers by reining in his activist NLRB.
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