10.14.2011 1

Scott bill would defang the NLRB

As originally published at The Washington Examiner.

By Bill Wilson — Even before the lingering recession compelled companies to shed additional anti-competitive encumbrances, labor unions were already on the decline in America.

Not even an unprecedented bonanza of government bailouts, multibillion-dollar loans and other taxpayer-funded subsidies has been able to prop up Big Labor.

Moreover, the increasingly militant, anti-free market rulings of President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board have exposed the heavy-handed role played by the government in the wrecking of America’s economy.

“The NLRB has handed down decisions for years that have driven up costs of production in America and forced companies to move jobs overseas to compete in a global economy,” Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., wrote recently.

Scott is sponsoring legislation that would strip the NLRB of its extrajudicial powers — overturning the overreach of an agency whose rulings are “biased against job creators by design.”

“While every other person, business, civic club and homeowners association in America must use the impartial U.S. courts to resolve their disputes, the labor unions get their own extrajudicial forum where the deck is stacked in their favor,” Scott writes.

A quick glance at the composition of America’s labor force reveals why unions have been forced to rely on the NLRB’s rigged system of “justice.”

According to statistics released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Labor, union membership in America fell in 2010 to 14.7 million workers — or 11.9 percent of the work force (the lowest level in 70 years).

Only 6.9 percent of the private sector work force is currently unionized (the lowest level in more than a century), compared with 36.2 percent of the public sector.

At the peak of union influence in the 1940s, those figures were essentially reversed — with 9.8 percent of government workers unionized, compared with 33.9 percent of private sector workers.

Unions are desperate. After spending $100 million and mobilizing an army of 450,000 campaign workers on behalf of Obama and his socialist allies in 2008, their backs are still up against a wall.

This explains the aggressive rhetoric being used by union leaders like James Hoffa of the Teamsters, who recently introduced Obama to an “army” in Michigan — one that stood ready to wage war on his behalf against those who dared to defend the free market from his socialist onslaught.

“Let’s take these son of a bitches out,” Hoffa said.

And that’s exactly what the NLRB is trying to do — most notoriously through its efforts to block aircraft manufacturer Boeing’s attempt to create thousands of new jobs in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

“They are really trying to bully and intimidate — not just Boeing — they are attacking every right-to-work state, and in effect warning every employer in the country, if they happen to decide to move to a state where workers are free not to join a union, that they are going to be harassed and harangued by the NLRB,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

And, while the NLRB seeks to block the creation of nonunion jobs in the private sector, public sector unions continue to be a drain on the federal deficit as well as cash-strapped states — with exorbitant benefit deals ballooning current deficits and future unfunded liabilities.

“The states with the highest per-capita debt all have something in common: Robust public-sector unions that have, over the years, cut sweetheart deals with politicians,” The Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso recently wrote.

Indeed, taxpayers living in states with elevated percentages of unionized government workers (60 percent or more) are burdened with more than twice the per capita debt of taxpayers living in states with lower percentages of unionized government workers (40 percent or less).

Left unchecked, unions will continue to drain taxpayer money and kill private sector jobs. Scott’s bill curtailing the NLRB’s extrajudicial extremism represents a solid first step in preventing them from doing so.

Bill Wilson is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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