Obama’s Job-Killing Agenda

Katie Packer
May 14, 2010
The Hill

Airline and railroad employees will soon be forced into joining labor unions thanks to a shocking decision by the National Mediation Board (NMB). The decision was conveniently announced the same day President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court so it received much less media coverage than it might have otherwise.

As another payback to its political benefactors in Big Labor, the Obama Administration has made radical changes to union-organizing rules, which govern both aviation and railway workplaces and have been in place for nearly a century.

By changing these long established rules that were operational during both Republican and Democratic administrations, President Obama is forcing workers into unions by allowing the will of a small group of employees to dictate the fate of the entire workforce.

The rules, governed by the NMB, create a situation where workers will be unionized if only a majority of those workers actually voting cast a ballot in favor of unionization.

That’s good for union bosses, but terrible for workers, businesses and democracy.

Assuming that anyone not casting a ballot is, in fact, in favor of abdicating their own right to negotiate with their employer and allowing a union to represent them is deplorable. When it comes to a complete overhaul of the way an employee interfaces with their employer, the wages and benefits they receive and conditions of employment, shouldn’t the threshold be much, much higher? And at a minimum, shouldn’t the number of employee votes required to certify a union be the same as the law requires to decertify a union in the event the workers are dissatisfied?

Many airlines are opposed to the new rule because they will be faced with higher costs, which are now virtually guaranteed. Airlines have been struggling for years, and this rule change stands to hurt the industry even more, and could once again put taxpayers on the hook if the airline industry goes the route of the automakers.

Today, businesses in America – both small and large – have no greater antagonist than an administration disingenuously professing its top priority is job creation, while advancing job-killing policies. The Obama Administration continues to prove that it is more concerned with paying back labor bosses than creating jobs and growing our economy.

This new ruling isn’t the only extreme union-organizing idea that has been embraced by President Obama or those on Capitol Hill who owe the union heads.

The Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA) is a scheme that will allow Big Labor to take over America’s small businesses and force workers into unions.

EFCA eliminates the secret ballot for workers during union-organizing elections, opening employees up to intimidation and harassment from union organizers. Their votes would be open for all to see. EFCA also forces workers and small businesses into contracts determining wages and benefits and that are binding for at least two years. A federal bureaucrat – with no required knowledge of the business or industry – would set these contracts forcing many employers to close their doors or move overseas.

Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) recently proclaimed that he has “no higher priority” this year than passing EFCA. The administration has also been consistent in its support for the bill, which is not entirely surprising considering union bosses invested half a billion dollars getting them elected in the first place.

Unfortunately, EFCA has been shown to cause the loss of 600,000 jobs in the first year of passage alone, with more to come. That’s a reality that should capture the attention of any politician who wants to give Big Labor another payback.

Of course, these days, it seems what labor bosses want, labor bosses get. But catering to special interests doesn’t serve the needs of America’s workers or small businesses and results in one thing, more lost jobs.

While this administration certainly seems to have taken the short view, voters will long remember that their interests have been traded away in exchange for the continued support of Big Labor bosses who now appear to be calling the shots in the West Wing.

Katie Packer is the executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute (www.WorkforceFairness.com).

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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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