Brett McMahon

Just in time for Labor Day, the Obama administration gave Big Labor a big ol’ smooch in the form of two more monumentally unfair, anti-worker, and anti-jobs decisions by the National Labor Relations Board. Not to be left out, the New York Times planted a big, wet one on the outgoing NLRB chair. And taken together, Big Labor and the Obama administration are giving our economy the kiss of the death.

One of the Board’s decisions is bad for business. It will allow swarms of “micro-union” organizing drives where paid union staff get to try to cherry-pick employees who want to sign up, but avoid altogether the likely “no” votes. So a small business person can get stuck facing multiple organizing campaigns from different unions for relatively few employees. Of course, businesses don’t like that rule—and why should we, when it will make it more difficult to create jobs, manage employees, and try to grow our economy?

But even more galling is a decision that is patently anti-employee. It ends protections that were recently granted so that employees could petition for a real, private-ballot election if their boss and a union boss had colluded to make an agreement through “card check”. There’s literally no way this is good for employees.

Yet what made the day all the more insulting was the morning’s puff piece from the New York Times, which portrayed the outgoing NLRB chair, Wilma Liebman, as a humble civil servant looking to accomplish nothing more than to “further the policy of this statute, which is to further the practice of collective bargaining, obviously collective bargaining freely chosen.”

There are two glaring problems with that: 1) the law to which Ms. Liebman refers, the National Labor Relations Act, was modified in 1947 to assure that employees could easily remain union-free if they so chose (the adjustments, of course, following the ugly behavior of unfettered union organizers) and 2) she and her colleagues have been doing everything it can to tip the scales in favor of Big Labor, including but not limited to impairing that “freely chosen” part.

The Obama-stacked NLRB last week finalized a rule that will force millions of workplaces to post “notices” that amount to nothing more than advertisements to join a union. That followed the close of a period to comment on the Mother of All Regulations—a rule which will shorten the election period so much that the average employee will only get one side of the story. A one-sided sales pitch (in which the union is legally allowed to make unrealistic promises that it is not required to keep) hardly amounts to “freely chosen.”

Then there’s the fundamentally disturbing part of all this: Ms. Liebman and her ilk apparently believe unrealistic union demands are good for the economy. She told the Times: “Some say collective bargaining is antithetical to the economy … I don’t buy that at all. This was a statute that worked. It created the middle class. It created good jobs.”

While the NLRB Members have law degrees, they seem to be short on both formal and informal acquaintance with basic principles of economics—yet Liebman and the Board are enacting economically dangerous, job-killing labor policies.

Here’s something else I know from personal experience that Ms. Liebman doesn’t seem to grasp: it’s tough to hire people in this economy and a small business owner, it makes little sense to try to hire anyone under a mounting pile of punitive, mean-spirited, and Byzantine regulations piling up under this administration—from the NLRB to the Environmental Protection Agency and beyond. Each new employee can be visualized as a walking, talking lawsuit and fine-generator.

Finally, Ms. Liebman had the gall to use this analogy about her ostensibly respectable work: “We knew we were going to have a boxing match, but we didn’t expect our opponents to come in with a baseball bat.” That’s interesting, because it is Ms. Liebman’s “collective bargaining” beneficiaries who still to this day use violence to achieve their goals, with another example in August as a Toledo businessman was shot when interrupting a perpetrator who had scrawled the word “scab” on his vehicle.

Indeed, the NLRB’s pro-union Members look the other way as Big Labor looks to use coercion to rope more Americans into paying union dues. Instead, the Board is doing violence to our national labor laws and turning around to blow us a goodbye kiss.


Brett McMahon

Brett McMahon is a spokesman for the Free Enterprise Alliance's Halt The Assault campaign