Fighting Back Against Obama’s Big Labor Favoritism

Republicans in both Houses of Congress are answering the Obama administration’s overreach in union favoritism.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee announced he was going to look into whether the National Mediation Board (NMB) was trying to “advance a partisan policy agenda.” Last year the NMB changed organization elections rules for the airline and railroad industry to ease union formation.

On Tuesday Issa and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), chair of the House subcommittee on labor policy, sent a letter to the NMB Chairman Harry Hoglander, saying:

We are concerned by the National Mediation Board’s decision to advance a rule which allows a minority of employees to determine union representation,

For over 75 years, the board conducted union representation elections according to the principle that a union would be certified as the collective bargaining representative only if a majority of the eligible employees in the relevant craft or class voted in favor of union representation.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) praised the decision  to investigate NMB releasing a statement Wednesday, saying:

I applaud the House Oversight Committee for investigating the National Mediation Board’s action that throws out 75 years of precedent and makes it easier for airline and railway employees to unionize,” Isakson said. “By taking this action without Congressional approval or adequate reasoning, the National Mediation Board has recklessly tossed aside fairness and impartiality to benefit their former bosses in the labor movement.

On Monday, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), ranking member on the Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, blasted the National Labor Relations Board’s attempt to prevent aircraft manufacturer Boeing from moving from the forced unionism state of Washington to the right-to-work state of South Carolina.

During his statement on the middle class and the American Dream, Enzi said:

NLRB Acting General Counsel issued this complaint and an accompanying press release trumpeting that action. Employers across the country have been greatly disturbed by this complaint and the possibility that a government bureaucrat serving in an acting capacity could direct U.S. companies about where to locate facilities, what work to do where, and who to hire. This is not the way to encourage new job creation in the U.S. or even keep the jobs we currently have.

This complaint has also raised considerable concern that the NLRB is now targeting the 22 Right to Work states, which have been an engine of new job creation and attracted many foreign companies to manufacture in the U.S. Many states that did not have a wide manufacturing base historically have found a path to significant new job creation by offering high skilled job training for their workforce and attracting foreign employers. I will join my colleagues in fighting any attempts to deter investment in Right to Work states in order to prop up unionized workforces.

Freedom is the quintessential American value. Freedom to build a new plant, create a new job, join a union, reject a union – all of these choices are threatened by the NLRB complaint. While I hope the complaint will not be ultimately successful, as it works through the process it will create a chilling effect nationwide.

The statement comes a week after Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced the Job Protection Act (S. 964). If passed, the bill would bar NLRB from overriding a company’s decision to move a facility from to a right to work state.

More information on both the NMB and the NLRB/ Boeing controversies can be found in my colleague Ivan Osorio’s post here.