Wilson: NLRB Not Helping Workers
Of all the federal agencies engaging in “bold, persistent experimentation” with our economy in recent years, U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been among the boldest, most persistent and most experimental.
The problem? Its policies haven’t helped American workers (just as Obama’s profligate spending hasn’t “stimulated” the economy).
The NLRB — which infamously sued aircraft manufacturer Boeing in 2011 for daring to create jobs in a right-to-work state — has become nothing more than a taxpayer-funded attack dog for Big Labor.
What began four years ago with a decision to relax reporting requirements for union bosses (reversing a Bush-era policy aimed at targeting union corruption) has now morphed into a full-fledged war against free enterprise.
Consider the NLRB’s recent rulings against Prime Healthcare Services, a California-based hospital company that was forced to continue collecting union dues even after the expiration of its collective bargaining agreement.
That decision overturned a half-century of legal precedent.
Then there was the agency’s ruling against Kent Hospital — in which the board held employees were no longer permitted to opt out of paying the percentage of union dues spent on political activity.
Not only that, the same ruling removed language requiring unions to provide employees with an accounting of what they spend on political activity.
These are just a few of the egregious pro-labor rulings issued by Obama’s NLRB since the 2012 election. In fact according to Reuters, “management lawyers said labor scored so many wins from the NLRB in the closing weeks of 2012 that they refer to the period as ‘the December massacre.’”
Obama is doing everything within his power to keep the massacre going, too — ignoring a recent Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated his 2012 recess appointments to this rogue agency.
Astounding, isn’t it? Despite being ruled unconstitutional, Obama’s appointments continue doing the bidding of their union bosses.
“The appointees to the NLRB remain in their jobs and the NLRB remains open for business,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in response to the ruling, speaking as if he owned the agency (which for all intents and purposes, he does).
But behind the headline-grabbing contempt Obama and his union backers continue to show for American jobs — and the rule of law — there is also a daily disregard for the taxpayers who fund this agency.
Consider the case of Bert Pearlston, an NLRB attorney who makes $141,726 a year — or more than $100,000 above the national median salary of $40,300.
Or take Steven Sloper, an NLRB labor examiner who makes $116,240 a year.
What do Pearlston and Sloper do?
According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by Americans for Limited Government, both of these government employees work exclusively for the unions — not the taxpayers.
“These are employees whose official job is to handle internal NLRB union activities exclusively, rather than carrying out any of the NLRB’s official responsibilities,” ALG’s website NetRightDaily reports.
In other words they are being paid by taxpayers to work for the union.
These full-time salaries are in addition to the $510,000 the NLRB pays other federal employees to do “part time” union work — a growing problem within the federal government.
According to a recent Breitbart report, government employees spent 3.4 million hours on “union representational activities” in FY 2011 — costing taxpayers $155.7 million.
This figure represented a 10 percent increase from FY 2010, and leading the way with the highest per capita use of official time was — you guessed it — the NLRB.
There’s a reason for Obama’s “boldness” and “persistence” on behalf of his union allies. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership declined again in 2012 — even as jobs were added to the economy.
As usual, government is the only thing keep Big Labor in business — with 35.9 percent of the public sector unionized compared to just 6.6 percent of the private sector.
Those are bleak statistics — and Obama knows it.
Faced with private sector extinction, organized labor is making a radical push to reclaim its relevance using our tax dollars — at the expense of our economy.
Yet rather than stand up for the workers who are being exploited in this process, Obama is flaunting the rule of law to appease his corrupt Big Labor bosses.
That’s why those of us who support free enterprise must stand against future funding for the NLRB until it is reformed.