From the desk of Stephen Cabot: Without having to get congressional approval, President Obama is determined to give union leaders everything they want. It is apparent that unions will soon have many new opportunities to organize formerly unaffiliated workers, and governmental agencies will provide all possible assistance.
To begin, the National Mediation Board (NMB) has made a major alteration to its 75-year old rules so that workers at railroads and airlines can easily be organized. For three-quarters of a century, workers who did not vote in organizing elections had their non-votes counted as negative votes; now, under a new ruling, if the majority of votes are pro-union, the union will have won the right to represent workers. This would not have happened if President Obama had not appointed a pro-union advocate to the NMB
Next, all companies that do business with the federal government will have to be union friendly companies. That means that they have to pay union wages, and that rule applies to all federal agencies. If a company received stimulus funds for construction projects, that company must pay standard union wages to its workers. Such a ruling will, no doubt, drive up governmental costs, thus adding to an already burgeoning deficit.
Perhaps the most dangerous element of the new government paradigm is the recent appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Becker had been the legal counsel to the highly aggressive Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Since he claims that the NLRB can re-write rules, one can expect him to find a way to make “card checks” legal, thus obviating the requirement for secret ballot elections.
The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, is optimistic that “card checks” will eventually become law, perhaps by attaching it to an innocuous piece of legislation, or having his ideological comrade in arms, Craig Becker, change the rules.
President Obama campaigned on “change we can believe in.” The changes he is making are ones that reality forces us to believe, but they are changes that will do significant damage to Corporate America and to the American economy.