During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama promised organized labor that he would support their agenda. Having failed to get labor’s priorities through Congress, the Obama administration is seeking to achieve the same goal through regulation.
For example, the president campaigned on passing card check, a union-backed measure that eliminates the secret ballot in union organizing elections. Inappropriately dubbed the “Employee Free Choice Act,” card check actually eliminates free choice by allowing union organizers to watch as an employee checks yes or no to unionize the company. If a majority of workers check the “yes” box, the employer would end up in binding arbitration.
The scheme was too much even for liberal icon Sen. George McGovern, who wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal.”
In the face of the resulting uproar, Congress tabled card check. In response, the president went about stacking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to fulfill his promises. Currently, three of the four members of the NLRB — a supposedly neutral body — are former union lawyers.
Now the reconstituted NLRB has stepped in on behalf of the unions, asking an administrative law judge to shut down Boeing’s non-union South Carolina production facility. The reason? The unions claim that setting up a second production line in South Carolina for the 787 Dreamliner was an act of retaliation against the unions for strikes against the company. (The union has shut down Boeing’s commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.)