The Loony Left Era

The Economist has this to say about the NLRB’s pursuit of Boeing:

The NLRB is an autonomous body, but its board members are appointed by the president. Under a Democratic president, American businesses expect a more pro-union line, but the agency’s recent militancy is shocking, reminiscent of “loony-left” posturing in Britain in the 1970s. Not only does the agency in effect claim the power to tell firms where they may build factories. It is also suing two states (Arizona and South Dakota) where voters have decided that workers should be guaranteed a secret-ballot election before their workplace is unionised. Mr Obama has so far said nothing about any of these cases. The president claims he understands business. Condemning the NLRB would be a good way to prove it.

“Loony Left” is exactly the right characterization. Despite their loss of members to the extent that only 7 percent of American private-sector workers now belong to a union, the unions and their allies in the administration are acting as if they have all the cards in labor disputes. To an extent, they do, because the nation’s labor laws are stuck in the 1930s, when unions had far more members. However, in pushing so hard when public opinion — clearly demonstrated by the lack of union membership outside government — is so thoroughly against them, they risk killing the goose that laid their golden eggs. That was exactly the sort of overreach that destroyed union power in the UK, as I documented at the Washington Examiner. If the unions push back as much as they seem likely to do this summer — with the NLRB disputes, a campaign against Toyota and more — then we could be in for the Summer of Discontent that finally paves the way for Congress to sweep away the 1930s rules, and there won’t be anything the unions can do to stop it.