Union Bosses & Obama Administration Join Together In Effort Against Worker Rights

Fred Wszolek
May 10, 2012
Real Clear Policy

The true extent of the campaign being waged against worker rights by the Obama administration and union bosses came into greater clarity over the course of the last several months with the president attacking right-to-work laws before the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ (AFL-CIO) Building and Construction Trades Department just as he kicked off his campaign for reelection. Mr. Obama said, “I believe when folks try and take collective bargaining rights away by passing so-called ‘right to work’ laws that might also be called ‘right to work for less,’ laws, that’s not about economics, that’s about politics.”

But the politics at play were those exhibited by the president, who was clearly pandering to a special interest he is relying on to fund his campaign. Union bosses have committed to spending nearly half a billion dollars for Obama’s re-elect, which follows a similar investment in 2008 — totaling nearly $1 billion in five years. And if that’s not enough, the Obama Campaign is virtually begging them to spend tens of millions more on the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a right-to-work state.

Obama and labor bosses have locked arms and made similarly dubious and inaccurate comments concerning right to work as of late. The president’s comments completely disregard basic facts between right-to-work and forced unionization states. For instance, in saying workers earn less in right-to-work states, Obama contradicts the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis annual 2011 personal income data “show[ing] that Right to Work states continue to enjoy a substantial income growth advantage over forced-unionism states. The Right to Work growth advantage is especially strong when it comes to private-sector compensation – that is, the wages, salaries, bonuses and benefits businesses provide for their employees. From 2010 to 2011 alone, private-sector compensation increased by 2.2% in the 22 Right to Work states, after adjusting for inflation with the U.S. Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI-U). In the 28 compulsory-unionism states, real private-sector compensation increased by just 1.7%.”

The president is not alone in making inaccurate and borderline ridiculous comments about right to work. Recently, labor bosses argued the right-to-work law passed in Indiana was somehow not legal because in denying them worker dues, it infringed on the free speech rights of unions. The argument demonstrates the lengths Big Labor will go to force workers into unions and gain access to their paychecks to pad their own pockets, and in turn, fund political endeavors.

This follows the actions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which outdoes itself in leveraging the powers of the executive branch to reward union bosses. The Board, which is supposed to be an unbiased agency administering to issues between labor and employers in the private sector, as well as conducting workplace elections, is made up of unelected bureaucrats. The current NLRB contains members who were never confirmed by the U.S. Senate and were recess appointed even though the Congress was convening in pro-forma sessions.

The Obama administration went to extraordinary lengths to ensure their top political contributor could obtain the “payback” they have stated they are owed. Big Labor bosses have been clear they believe the NLRB is the vehicle by which they will secure elements of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, which failed to receive a vote in the last Congress and wasn’t even introduced in the current session.

Union bosses expect Obama’s labor board to go further than the previous one that decided in favor of “micro-unions” which are units for the purposes of collective bargaining with as few as two or three people. These micro-unions create division, discord and disharmony in the workplace as little units negotiate against one another, while business owners become entangled in an expensive mess of union red tape and competing demands.

The Board also issued a rule in favor of “ambush elections” which rushes workers into making an uninformed decision on an issue critically important to their livelihood and makes a mockery of secret ballot elections. All this while business owners struggle to get access to the resources they need to make a fair case against paid union organizers who do this for a living.

The current NLRB – stocked with its non-recess appointments – is now planning on handing over the private contact information of workers to union organizers. Given the long history of violence and intimidation on the part of labor bosses, it’s simply wrong to disclose fundamentally private information like worker phone numbers and email addresses, putting them at risk. No one other than an employer has a right to such personal information and this would be nothing other than another sop to Big Labor.

In the end, the preponderance of evidence leads to only one conclusion: the president and his regulators are engaged in an effort to bail out union bosses at the expense of American employees and employers. The Obama Administration is working hand in glove with labor bosses to issue job-killing policies that punish workers and businesses despite a stagnant economy with nearly 40 months of unemployment greater than eight percent.

By attacking states that have passed right-to-work legislation and putting forward rules and regulations that kill jobs, President Obama has staked his lot with Big Labor and against America’s job creators.

Fred Wszolek is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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