RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES VS. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The attorneys general of nine right-to-work states, where workers cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment, have issued a statement condemning a wrong-headed ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that prevents Boeing from building its Dreamliner 787 in South Carolina. The states are South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Alan Wilson, the Attorney General of South Carolina, wrote: “The only justification for the NLRB’s unprecedented retaliatory action is to aid union survival.” We could not agree more.

As we recently reported, Boeing chose to open a manufacturing facility in South Carolina because several strikes in Washington had not only significantly delayed the company’s production goals by many months, but had also cost the company tens of millions of dollars. South Carolina provides a more business friendly environment than does the state or Washington.

As a corporation operating in a free-market economy, Boeing has the right to operate a manufacturing facility wherever it wants, especially as it contributes to the welfare of its employees and to a profitable bottom line. It is an essential element of our capitalistic heritage. And we support the right of all corporations to do business wherever they want, not someplace chosen by the NLRB, catering to the demands of unions, such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which has applauded the NLRB’s decision.

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U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: ANOTHER VICTIM OF A PUBLIC SECTOR UNION

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: Angela Greiling Keane reported on Bloomberg News that the U. S. Postal Service negotiated a 4 ½ year contract with the American Postal Workers, which has 202,000 members. She quotes Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, as stating: “We have deep concerns that some of the provisions of the contract may in fact be the wrong direction, to less flexibility, less ability to trim the workforce and less ability to in the future make the kinds of investments we need to make.”

The new contract will not stem the tide of enormous losses; and it will certainly not lead to a renaissance of profitability for the postal service, which has suffered losses for the last five quarters. Its labor costs are a whopping 80% of its total budget, while labor costs for UPS are 69% of its operating budget, and 43% for the operating budget of FedEx, which is staffed by a combination of employees and independent contractors.

Until the postal service can bring its labor costs in line with private sector employers such as UPS and FedEx, it will continue to run huge billion-dollar deficits. The sorry state of the U. S. Postal Service is just another example of how public-sector unions drive companies into the ground. The goals of the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin should become the goals of a fiscally responsible federal government.

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THE PORTENTOUS RETURN OF CARD CHECKS

From Stephen Cabot’s desk in Philadelphia: In a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has opened its back door ever wider for unions to enact a de facto Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as card checks. The NLRB decided that an important auto supply company, Dana, in Michigan, can permit the further establishment of unionization amongst its employees through card checks. The UAW already represents workers at a number of Dana facilities. And the union wanted to organize the remaining workers. In an effort to win union concessions without resorting to collective bargaining, Dana agreed to permit the UAW to use card checks to organize those workers who were not represented by a union. No longer will there be secret ballot elections at Dana. Instead, union organizers can now pressure or even intimidate workers into signing card cards. Dana agreed to the use of card checks and the abolition of secret ballot elections in exchange for the UAW agreeing to maintain the company’s plans to reduce employee benefits and permit mandatory overtime. The UAW further agreed not to call for a strike. And the NLRB gave this unusual deal its stamp of approval! It may seem like a good deal for Dana, but if labor disputes arise in the future, the UAW can resort to a full assortment of union tactics to win concessions, and it will have the added leverage of representing all of Dana’s workers. In the meantime, the UAW will significantly increase revenues from the union dues of many new members. Both the NLRB and the UAW have found a clever way to impose card checks on Corporate America and enlist millions of workers into the ranks of unions. It is a bad portent for Corporate America, the American economy, and every American industrial city from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, from Houston to Chicago, from Atlanta to Seattle.

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