|Big Labor, Obama Administration Shift Strategies to Impose Their Agenda|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 20 2011
Big Labor’s expansionist agenda has failed miserably in Congress and the court of public opinion.
So now, along with “Net Neutrality” Internet regulation and global warming mandates, the Obama Administration seeks to dictate through unelected administrative agencies the labor wish list it couldn’t achieve through the democratic process.
In 2006 and again in 2008, union executives and their big government co-conspirators assumed their Camelot had arrived with the ascent of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and then Barack Obama.
Their prize jewel? Card-check legislation, which would end secret ballot voting in union elections, and replace it with coercive face-to-face solicitation by union representatives at home and elsewhere. Surely, card-check legislation would quickly pass in the new uber-Democratic Congress under the iron fists of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. And just as surely, President Obama would sign the legislation and add another job-destroying feather to his war bonnet.
Securing card-check at long last, labor leaders would exploit it to reverse decades of decline in union membership. As a result, new employees pressured into membership would constitute a fresh wellspring of compulsory dues wrenched from their paychecks. That, in turn, would bolster Big Labor’s dominance of cowed politicians at the federal, state and local levels. The vicious circle would perpetuate. Their new lease on life had arrived.
But not even the destructive 111th Congress proved capable of dumping card-check on an already-reeling economy. Today, that Obama-Pelosi-Reid window of opportunity has been slammed shut by the American electorate.
Undeterred, labor leaders and the Obama Administration now pivot to unelected administrative agencies to force-feed their agenda to an unwilling workforce. Through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), they have commenced an effort to impose card-check, rescind financial transparency rules for unions and tilt decades-old election rules in unions’ favor.
As part of that larger strategy, the Obama Administration introduced this month the same tactic it is using to persecute Arizona for passing its immigration enforcement law, SB 1070: sue individual states that dare defy the Obama Agenda. Last November 2, four states – Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah – approved state constitutional amendments requiring secret-ballot elections during unionization campaigns. The offended Obama Administration, which finds any element of state independence pungent, has now authorized its NLRB to haul those states into court.
The Administration’s effort to impose Big Labor’s wish list extends far beyond the NLRB, however.
After imposing ObamaCare upon a similarly unwilling America, the Administration discovered to nobody else’s surprise that its new mandates immediately created unsustainable costs for insurance policies. So much for Obama’s promise that, “if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.” In response, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began issuing waivers to politically favored employers from ObamaCare’s mandates.
Here’s where the HHS waivers get interesting: The organizations that have received waivers from ObamaCare requirements average 35% union membership. In contrast, only 7% of the American private workforce is unionized. Thus, groups receiving ObamaCare favor possess unionization rates 500% of the national average.
At the state and local level, unions and “community organizers” are also mobilizing to prevent desperately needed reform.
Many states face unsustainable public employee union commitments, and default becomes more likely each passing day. Last November, new governors and legislators were elected on explicit promises to avert that catastrophe through such options as wage freezes, benefit reductions, pension reform and other adjustments that families across America have had to make. There is simply no reason that unionized public employees should be immune from the same belt-tightening that others face.
But labor leaders will hear none of it.
In anticipation of Martin Luther King Day, labor leaders held candlelight vigils to protest new Ohio Governor John Kasich’s proposals to bring some sanity to public employee benefits. The AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the notorious Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are also targeting Florida, Wisconsin and Chris Christie’s New Jersey in their campaign to protect the status quo – the same status quo that has brought state budgets to the precipice.
Fortunately, the public isn’t buying it. Public opinion polls reveal new lows in union approval, and leaders like Governor Christie have become national celebrities for standing up to thuggish union representatives.
But neither Big Labor nor the Obama Administration are going to go away without a fight, meaning that continued public vigilance will be critical to prevent their destructive agenda.
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