Obama's Rogue Union Board Dealt Major Setbacks

Upon coming to office, President Obama began using the obscure National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to give big payoffs to unions at the expense of businesses and to the detriment of our economic recovery, but now it appears his abuse of this agency is coming under scrutiny.

By and large, NLRB is not one of those Washington agencies that gets much notice. In normal times, that wouldn't be a big deal. The NLRB is a federal agency controlled from the White House that is supposed to act as an unbiased arbiter between the business sector and labor unions; its chief job is to write rules to govern how business and labor relate to each other. 

But since President Obama took office, he's thrown out any pretense of his board being an unbiased arbiter and used this obscure agency to implement all sorts of union-favoring rules at the expense of businesses, economic recovery, and often in direct violation of what the courts have ruled.

At long last, though, Obama's NLRB is seeing its assumed powers questioned. The most recent reversal of fortunes occurred on April 7, when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the NLRB's poster rule. U.S. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph ruled that the NLRB had exceeded its legal authority to force over 6 million employers to post signs advertising unions to employees.

The rule dictated that businesses hang large posters informing employees how to set up a union. The court ruled that the NLRB's poster rule violated employer free speech as protected by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, as the posters were only allowed to have pro-union information on them.

Obama's labor agency will appeal the ruling; in the meantime, it will hold off implementing the rule until a decision is reached.

That hasn't been the only deafeat for the NLRB recently, either. In January, the D.C. Circuit court also ruled that Obama's appointments to the board were made illegally.

The January ruling maintained that Obama exceeded his Constitutional authority with his attempt to use "recess appointments" to stuff the board with pro-union operatives.

In January of 2012, Obama announced that as far as he was concerned, the Senate was in recess and proceeded to appoint Sharon Block, Terence F. Flynn, and Richard F. Griffin Jr. to the NLRB. In January of 2013, however, the court ruled that the Senate was not in recess at the time of the appointments, despite Obama's claims to the opposite.

Despite this ruling, Obama and his NLRB have proceeded apace, with the fraudulent appointees still in place, churning out more pro-union regulations by the day. The NLRB's actions continue, in spite of the fact that the court's ruling puts all the NLRB's rules and regulatory changes made since last year in legal limbo.

Even more brazenly, after the ruling that his recess appointments were illegal, Obama re-nominated the same people the court deemed illegitimate.

Labor is increasingly agitated by the NLRB's setbacks. The AFL-CIO released a statement after the poster rule was struck down: 

The Republican judges of the D.C. Circuit continue to wreak havoc on workers’ rights. After attempting to render the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) inoperable (in the Noel Canning decision), the D.C. Circuit has once again undermined workers’ rights – this time by striking down a common-sense rule requiring employers to inform workers of their rights under federal labor law.

In February, the AFL-CIO warned that it might take out its frustrations on Senate Democrats. At a gathering of the AFL-CIO executive council, a resolution was proposed to pressure Democrats on NLRB issues.

The NLRB also made a splash in the news in 2011. One may recall that in a blatantly political move, the NLRB ruled that Boeing was not allowed to build a new manufacturing plant in right-to-work state South Carolina. The move was so transparently political that it drove one labor lawyer to note that "the willingness to ignore statutory language and judicial precedents is unique to the current administration."


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