12.03.2010 2

Department of Labor: Anti Business, Pro Union

By Adam Bitely –

The Obama administration has not been known as the most “business friendly” group. With taxes rising on small and and large business owners, Health Care mandates, and the Department of Labor running wild with regulations, it is no surprise that the unemployment rate has remained at 9.6% for such a long period of time.

There is some very scary stuff happening inside of Obama’s Department of Labor that should cause you to shudder. As John Fund at the WSJ points, out the Department of Labor is up to no good, as usual.

Labor’s Office of the Solicitor released a plan that has been adopted as the standard operating procedure which highlights just how much DOL and the Obama administration dislike business. DOL is looking at doing the following things to intimidate businesses, as Fund reports:

Patricia Smith, who heads the solicitor’s office, told me in an interview yesterday that the plan is a “living document” that will “never be finalized.” Whatever its status, it includes the following:

• “Identify a public affairs liaison in each Regional Office” to “send stronger, clearer messages to the regulated community about DOL’s emphasis on litigation.”

One tactic to be employed by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) division will be to “deter [employers] through shaming.” Ms. Smith told me she didn’t know what that means. But whatever it might involve, it doesn’t sound appropriate for an agency charged with carrying out the law in an even-handed fashion.

• “Engage in enterprise-wide enforcement.” Ms. Smith said that means targeting multiple work sites of the same company. A department source says it also is likely to involve enforcement agents from the Wage and Hour Division and from OSHA showing up at the same time. The plan also calls for “Imposing shorter deadlines for implementing remedial measures in conciliation agreements and consent decrees.”

• “Engage in greater use of injunctive relief,” which means using court injunctions rather than fines to enforce compliance. The department plan also wants to “identify and pursue test cases” that could stretch the meaning of the law.

DOL is drawing a line in the sand on where they stand with business. DOL is the regulator, and whatever they say goes and if you refuse to go along, you will wish you did.

But it gets worse. While DOL tightens the screws on business and the folks responsible for providing jobs to Americans, they are turning their gaze away from Big Labor, the money sucking, job killing group of thieves:

But while the Department of Labor prepares for a hyper-aggressive enforcement strategy against business, it has rolled back Bush-era reforms mandating greater union transparency. Just this week the department rescinded its Form T-1, which required unions to report on strike funds and other accounts under union control.

The Labor Department is also planning to transfer responsibility for whistleblower investigations from OSHA (which currently has 80 investigators on this beat) to the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), which oversees union financial integrity. But the Obama administration has severely cut funding and staff for OLMS. There are 187 OLMS investigators, down from 223 last year. With additional responsibilities, the office’s ability to investigate embezzlements and union corruption will be further hindered.

This work is important. Since 2001, OLMS investigations have resulted in 972 indictments for various financial misdeeds, with 905 of them resulting in convictions. As a result, $88 million in restitution was made to rank-and-file union members.

There you have it folks. If you aren’t part of the chosen class, which would be swearing allegiance to a labor union where you can have your paycheck shanghaied each week, then you are at the mercy of the Labor Department.

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