The National Labor Relations Board is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter in disputes between businesses and unions. But under President Barack Obama, it has acted as organized labor’s devoted teammate.
A recently released staff report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee further documents the NLRB’s politically driven transformation. Aptly titled, “President Obama’s Pro-Union Board: The NLRB’s Metamorphosis from Independent Regulator to Dysfunctional Union Advocate,” it includes previously unreleased internal NLRB communications that re-confirm the panel’s sharp shift in labor’s favor.
That stacked deck is no surprise considering that the president named to the five-person board three members with longtime ties to organized labor. In the recess-appointment process for that trio, he dodged the need for Senate confirmation.
That blatant bias hit home in these parts in March 2010, when NLRB General Counsel Lane Solomon filed suit in support of a union’s complaint against Boeing’s 2009 decision to build a 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston.
The far-fetched basis for that legal action: Boeing officials, by stating the obvious fact that the availability of a non-union workforce here played a significant role in that choice, had “intimidated” the union in Washington state.
Yet during a 2011 congressional hearing in North Charleston, Mr. Solomon, under questioning from Rep. (and soon to be Sen.) Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy, admitted that no union members had lost jobs because of Boeing’s decision to put that factory in North Charleston.
Fortunately, the specious suit was settled late last year.
That outcome, however, can’t erase this fully warranted conclusion in that House committee’s staff report:
“NLRB political appointees and agency bureaucrats demonstrated an extreme lack of impartiality as they pursued the case against Boeing.”
For instance, “the NLRB’s Associate General Counsel, Barry Kearney, praised an International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers press release related to the Boeing case, stating, ‘Hooray for the red, white, and blue.’ ”
And: “NLRB political appointees and agency bureaucrats appear to have violated the NLRB’s separation principle between the Office of General Counsel and the Board as well as ex parte rules as they pursued the case against Boeing. Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon and then-Chairman Wilma Liebman exchanged, or were both party to, more than 20 emails related to the Boeing matter.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham called the report “a stunning record of how the NLRB is connected to and actively promotes the union agenda.” He added that he hopes it “leads to corrective action which prevents these types of blatant abuses in the future.”
We hope so, too.