This column was coauthored by Ken Klukowski
President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is on a job-killing rampage. It’s claiming unprecedented powers far beyond what federal law allows. Taken with Obama’s other agencies, these executive actions paint a picture of what has become an imperial presidency.
A federal appeal is certain once NLRB’s shocking attack on Boeing Co. goes through the administrative process. In a free-market society, government bureaucrats cannot dictate to a private company where they can and cannot open factories or create jobs. Boeing—whose general counsel was formerly one of the most brilliant federal judges in America, Michael Luttig—should win this court battle.
NLRB’s power grab is not limited to Boeing. It’s also claiming jurisdiction over St. Xavier University, saying that the school doesn’t qualify for the religious exemption to NLRB’s authority because St. Xavier is not Catholic enough. NLRB cites to a 1979 Supreme Court case as giving it this authority, when that case instead makes clear that this government agency would be running afoul of the First Amendment by presuming to rate the religiosity of bone fide church organizations.
Just recently NLRB came down with three other far-left decisions. One was repealing an earlier NLRB ruling, stripping workers of the right to promptly contest the results of a vote to form a union. Another was ruling that employers everywhere must post signs on forming a union, giving the appearance that unionizing was encouraged both by the government and even the employer.
The third and most damaging ruling was to rule that even where unions do not exist, employees can form micro-unions in part of a company. This would make a mess of labor laws by creating countless possible entities with which business owners and management must constantly negotiate, seriously complicating efforts to have company policies that are stable, predictable, and profitable.
Nor will the president’s handpicked appointees allow others to promote the free market. When Arizona and other states recently passed laws protecting workers’ right to a secret ballot to decide whether to form unions, NLRB filed a lawsuit to undo the results of the democratic process. That lawsuit continues today.
And NLRB isn’t done. Even the Democrat-controlled Congress refused to pass President Obama’s federal card-check legislation to abolish the secret ballot. Afterward Obama’s appointees, such as hard-line labor activist Craig Becker, argued that NLRB could create this legislation through executive fiat without Congress. They may yet act on this shocking claim of lawmaking power.