Big Labor’s Insatiable Greed

Yesterday, the Fiscal Times ran an article entitled, “Big Labor’s Mounting Feud with Barack Obama.”

It reports that union bosses believe their political activity and millions of dollars in campaign contributions was the difference in President Obama’s 2012 reelection and the Commander in Chief has not provided equal consideration to unions for their efforts.

As AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka boasted after the 2012 elections regarding swing states, like Ohio and Wisconsin, “We did deliver those states,” and “Without organized labor, none of those states would have been in the president’s column.”

While the article mentions that Big Labor has not had the Obama administration’s support regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, Obamacare relief, and free-trade agreements, unions have been the beneficiaries of numerous other Obama administration policies since 2012.

Here are just a few:

  • President Obama violated the Constitution by nominating members to the NLRB without Senate approval. This ensured the pro-union NLRB could operate and assist Big Labor.
  • With a full quorum, the NLRB on January 5, 2014, proposed a regulation to amend union representation case procedures, known as ambush elections. If finalized, the rule would tilt the union election playing field in favor of unions by limiting the speech of employers who oppose unionization, infringes on worker privacy by requiring employers to provide unions with workers’ contact information (phone and email) before the union has won representation over the workplace. In addition, the rule limits the types of issues an employer can raise at a pre-election hearing.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed a rule called “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” The regulation will require employers with 250 or more employees to record occupational injuries and illnesses, which OSHA will make publicly available on a OSHA website. This rule is no more than a name-and-shame rule that gives unions another tool to use to conduct corporate campaigns against employers.
  • On September 17, 2013, the Department of Labor finalized the companionship rule, which amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care providers and homecare providers. According to the DOL’s original estimates, the rule will cost $420 million to $2.3 billion over the first 10 years. Another projected result is less elderly and disabled individuals being able to afford direct care services. Even the DOL’s analysis admits “people with disabilities will be institutionalized as a result of these rules.” As with any minimum wage policy, unions benefit from highly-regulated industry.
  • In March, the DOL is set to promulgate the “persuader rule.” The regulation reinterprets the “advice exemption” provided in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. Ultimately, this rule hinders employers from receiving legal aid about labor and employment law, rather than improving the well-being of employees. Clearly, unions benefit from a rule that burdens employers that wish to hire labor relations experts.
  • While Big Labor is upset with President Obama regarding Affordable Care Act subsidies, unions have gained an exemption from certain Obamacare taxes. A proposed rule would exempt union multi-employer health plans, also known as Taft-Hartley plans, from Obamacare’s temporary reinsurance fee in 2015 and 2016.
  • Worker centers, or union front groups, have collected millions of tax dollars in federal grants.

While unions may not have gotten everything they would like from the president, it is hard to argue labor unions’ status is not one of privilege.