- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

For over a year now, Big Labor has pressed Congress to take action on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and U.S. senators from both parties have rebuffed the union boss agenda, understanding it would result in more job losses and higher unemployment.

But that has not stopped Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO from pursuing every avenue available to secure action on the part of the federal government to enact their forced-unionization agenda. Forced unionization of America’s small businesses and workers would allow union bosses to reap a windfall of billions of dollars, which they desperately need to continue their engagement in politics and bail out their bankrupt pension plans.

The latest iteration of Big Labor’s plan is stocking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with individuals who will put in place elements of EFCA outside the legislative process.

Labor bosses have been working furiously to place Craig Becker on the NLRB and for good reason: They expect him to “change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action.”

These plans were revealed in an Op-Ed on the Huffington Post by special assistant to the president at the AFL-CIO, Stewart Acuff.

U.S. senators voted last week to stop Mr. Becker’s nomination. They understand that he is a radical nominee with extreme views who believes neither small businesses nor workers should have any say in the unionization process and federal policy should place all the power in the hands of union bosses.

In fact, Mr. Becker wrote in a law review journal that “employers should be stripped of any legal cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives” and that “employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair-labor practices case.” Mr. Becker’s extreme views put him out of touch with a majority of Americans and would result in NLRB policies that inflict heavy damage on small businesses and their employees.

As a result, those individuals directly accountable to the American people in the U.S. Senate expressed the will of their constituents, yet union bosses don’t feel the rules should apply to them and are working to receive the “payback” they feel they are owed by “demand[ing]” a recess appointment by President Obama.

Just days ago, Mr. Trumka wrote, “The NLRB’s job is to protect workers’ rights - but for more than two years it has been functioning with only two members instead of the five it should have. Working people need an NLRB that can enforce the National Labor Relations Act - not one hobbled by vacancies. … These next few weeks will be crucial in building support for a fully functional NLRB.”

So, the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) took Mr. Trumka at his word and called on the U.S. Senate to move expeditiously on the other outstanding nominations to the NLRB, namely Democrat Mark Pearce and Republican Brian Hayes. This would give the NLRB the quorum it needs to do its job.

We asked the AFL-CIO to support action on Mr. Pearce and Mr. Hayes if they were truly interested in a “fully functional NLRB.”

The response was predictable. AFL-CIO legislative director Bill Samuel stated, “We start from the basis that the president should get to decide who serves on presidential boards and commissions. We’re not going to back off that.” (Apparently they were absent from American history class when they were covering the chapter on the three branches of government and a system of checks and balances.)

And so, the Big Labor bosses in Washington are demanding that Mr. Obama ignore the bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate and make a recess appointment of Craig Becker.

So, in reality, union bosses couldn’t care less about a “fully functional NLRB” if it doesn’t include a recess appointment for a labor radical who will do their bidding and implement key elements of the Employee Free (“Forced”) Choice Act.

And that leads us to ask, why exactly is having elements of the EFCA enacted by fiat so important?

The EFCA would be damaging to workers and businesses but a boon to Big Labor because it would help increase union membership more easily at a time when overall union membership in this country is in decline.

The EFCA would force unionization on workers by removing their right to vote via secret ballot during union-organizing elections, opening workers up to coercion and harassment.

The EFCA would also force workers and businesses into binding contracts, written by a federal bureaucrat, determining wages and benefits for at least two years - with no vote by the workers.

Alarmingly, the EFCA would cause 600,000 jobs to be lost in the first year alone, with more in the years that follow.

The truth has finally been exposed. Big Labor bosses are not concerned with workers’ rights or an NLRB that fairly and equitably administers the National Labor Relations Act. Simply stated, they want “payback” for the hundreds of millions of dollars they invested in the 2008 election cycle.

Mr. Obama would be wise to ignore the heavy-handed tactics and veiled threats by Mr. Trumka and Mr. Stern, and push for the confirmation of Mark Pearce and Brian Hayes.

The very survival of countless small businesses and their workers are at stake in this debate, and they will be directly affected by its outcome.

Katie Packer is the executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute.

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