• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • What the New Obama Labor Board Means for Workers and Employers

    The framers of the Constitution required the President to get the consent of the Senate before appointing senior government officials. They wanted to prevent the President from appointing those who would abuse the public trust. President Obama’s purported appointment of Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday illustrates the importance of this constitutional restraint.

    The union movement has a problem: Just one in 10 nonunion workers wants to join a union. Few workers believe that unions have much to offer, and even fewer want their company to wind up like General Motors. Consequently, private-sector union membership has fallen below 7 percent.

    The union movement wants to reverse this decline, but it does not want to fundamentally reform itself to appeal to today’s workers. So it has turned to the government to make it difficult for workers to decline its services. Unions lobbied Congress to end the secret ballot in union elections, forcing workers to publicly tell union organizers whether or not they wanted to join. Fortunately, that bill went nowhere.

    Unions have now turned to the NLRB to boost their ranks—even though the NLRB is supposed to serve as a neutral arbitrator between unions and employers. President Obama appointed Craig Becker—former counsel for the AFL–CIO—to the board. Becker had an already-developed plan to use the board’s powers to increase union membership, and the board has been implementing this agenda.

    In just the past year, the NLRB shortened union elections to as little as 14 days, limiting employees’ ability to hear from both sides before they vote; allowed unions to cherry pick which workers in a company can vote on unionizing; and prevented workers from insisting on a secret ballot in union drives. These initiatives will make life easier for union organizers at the expense of individual workers’ rights.

    Unionized companies create fewer new jobs than nonunion companies. Union dues cost hundreds of dollars a year. Workers have the right to unionize if they want, but a government agency should not press them into it—and certainly not when former officials of those unions run that agency.

    Becker’s recess appointment expired at the end of the last session of Congress, and with it the activist majority on the NLRB. To replace Becker, President Obama nominated Richard Griffin, the general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers. Another union lawyer would continue the board’s agenda-driven activism.

    The Senate’s advice and consent powers exist to check such appointments. Senate conservatives are right to demand that the President nominate board members who see their mission as protecting workers’ rights, not increasing union membership. The President cannot constitutionally ignore their advice.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to What the New Obama Labor Board Means for Workers and Employers

    1. Bobbie says:

      I don't get people who demand their voices heard pay to hide behind a union to speak their voices for them? Unionized companies create fewer new jobs than nonunion companies because union heads eat as much of the profit that could be hiring more employees, as they can! Unions are irrational and overbearing. They have no consideration. The success of the company is not the goal of the union. Collapse and high unemployment seems to be it. Unions cost more than benefits. They cost the business time, money, productivity, insurance when the business by union demand has to coordinate their already written policies in favor of people who are liabilities who's work is unaccounted for, still making same pay keeping sure self esteem has no reason to build and personal dignity has no reason to exist and expectations aren't expected. And people wonder why companies move out of the country!! huh

      Businesses have no freedom to hire people that are the most qualified as they once did when people had the initiative to take on the opportunity to become qualified for a business position.

      The incompetence or "change" in the process of the government run NLRB makes them a "special interest" paid by American tax dollars as a whole puts direct harm on the freedoms of self governing in the private sector, therefore against the will of the people. Stop this disgusting behavior!!

      If the NLRB exists through tax funding, it's role should be there so paid unions don't have to.

    2. lambert says:

      If it's unconstitutional, how does he get away with this? Can't a judge somewhere block it until a court can rule on it?

    3. guest says:

      Do the NLRB's regulations carry the weight of law? If so, how was that power granted to an unelected board and why can't it be rescinded? If not, can't "we" just tell all the employers to ignore them?

    4. TimO says:

      This administration has continually disreguarded the will of the people and the economic stability of this country. He has proven to be a liar and a lazy bum. His administration has flagrantly failed in their most sacred duty to provide for the defense of the USA. Their willingness to help the unions drive costs up, value down, shut down companies and drive good jobs overseas is as dipicable as their support of this most disgusting and vial facsimlie of a president. They're a disgrace to everything this country has ever stood for, and the people that have sacrificed so much for us to be everything they are not. God bless the USA that we can recover and once again be a country to be proud of and not just a liberal Obama third world country.

    5. Scot - New Jersey says:

      OK…so now what do we do? Are we to expect that the Justice Department will step in and invalidate the appointments…Eric Holder…really?
      Since the President's actions are blatantly illegal…what recourse do we have to undo it?
      Congress or the courts must have the power to check abuses by the president, No?
      How can ordinary citizens like us get something going?

    6. Baltzelle says:

      It is my understanding that the Congress can refuse to fund this department with it's Chicago influence. Would that not be perfect? And at the same time do not pay Obama's salary until this department is rescinded. Way to go!!!1 Let's do it.!!!!!

    7. guest says:

      I read the site often, but this is the first time I felt compelled to respond. I work at a union represented company. I would like to rebut your statements. My company has hired 25+new people in the last six months,bringing our workforce to nearly 200. We are a leader in our field and my site in particular is very profitable (almost $120M in sales this year). I pay several hundred dollars a year in dues,but by the nature of our bargaining agreement, it allows me to earn a six figure salary. Recess appointees happen all the time. President Bush 43, President Bush 41 and President Reagan all had more recess appointees by this time in their first term. There also is no cherry picking. Only votes that are cast are counted,both yes and no like in all elections. Those that don't vote used to be counted as no,that happens no where else. I would like to know the survey you quoted as one in ten. Most studies I have seen range between five in ten and seven in ten. Just a little of my history for perspective- private high school on scholarship,public university,ROTC,Army officer,former small business owner and current union member, I have never been more able to provide for my family as I am now as a union employee.

      • Bobbie says:

        by your comment I conclude the unions role is to monitor and distribute the profits of the company who creates the employment for hire using the creators time on their account with their money but through a union, the companies employment staff has to meet union qualifications where low or no work ethic is required or reprimanded? all are paid equally depending on position, not performance and with no regard to the business costs, losses, future which effects all employees. Which leads me to ask if the company you work for is a company that was bailed out since you're reluctant to share the name?

        We have a problem with unions that are corrupt and effect us and the cost of our livelihoods who use the government we pay with government using our money in bias favor of unions and some industries is unfair to all as the expense of government to all (who aren't exempt but none of which are involved at their own accord,) plus union equals more complications on businesses and higher costs to consumers. and unfair usage of tax dollars! how is that fair?

        No wonder everyone has low self esteem. Nothing has to be expected of them as new expectations is to have everything the way people want it regardless of reason and without personal effort. so there's no motivation for people on their own, to take on the challenges or build a potential of their own to move beyond what they're doing.

        How many businesses are collapsing because of their own doings facing consequences they've caused themselves? None because the President bails them out with other peoples money and many because of government over regulations. How many businesses are collapsing because of union demands without negotiating fairly that they gladly exploit unfairly. I can't believe you were a small business owner with good intent, now in favor of unions who you pay to negotiate for you to get for you what you could've gotten yourself?

        as far as your mention of previous presidents the amount of recess appointees has nothing to do with the fact it was handled by abuse of the constitution, within the president's control, violating his oath and our peoples constitution.

        Not sure you're age but the ROTC teaches self reliance and discipline. In the army be all you can be! In civilian life it's the same. Why would you want unions to interfere with that? Thank you regardless.

      • JNobleDagget says:

        One firm is not a valid statistical sample. Your firm falls into "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while."

        You are correct that recess appointments happen all the time and Constitutional allowed, but the Congress actually has to be recessed. The Senate is in session and therefore the President CANNOT make a recess appointment. He doesn't decide when the Congress is or is not in session. It's called Separation of Powers.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.