Hold On, Big Labor – by Ben Johnson

john-mccain

As the Left barrels forward with its agenda to remake the United States, Sen. John McCain has interrupted President Obama’s latest payoff to the Shadow Party. McCain announced Wednesday he would place a hold on Obama’s appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Becker is a longtime lawyer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which donated $27.8 million to Obama’s 2008 campaign. McCain described Becker as “probably the most controversial nominee that I have seen in a long time” – and that from an administration that has nominated John Holdren, Van Jones, and Carol Browner. Becker has never justified compulsory abortion, blamed a natural disaster on President Bush, or joined an international socialist organization. But he has written that “workers should not be able to choose against having a union”; that employers should have no right to contest fraudulent union elections; and that the NLRB could implement certain portions of Big Labor’s card check proposal even without Congressional approval. Becker took as his own the words of Robert Hoxie, that “unions are ‘formed to escape the evils of individualism.’” And, through a Chicagoland chapter of SEIU, Becker has ties to ACORN and Rod Blagojevich that demand probing.

McCain took the action after Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin ignored his letter calling for Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to investigate Becker. Obama tapped the former UCLA professor, AFL-CIO lawyer, and current assistant general counsel to SEIU for one of three empty seats on the NLRB, which Congressional Democrats blocked President Bush from filling the last two years of his term. The board is the federal overseer of all labor disputes and sets rules for the formation of unions. Becker would radically restructure these elections to favor organized labor, his employer, one of Obama’s chief source of political donations, and an invaluable constituency of the Democratic Party. And in true “progressive” spirit, he vows to do so for your own good.

We Are the Labor Borg; You Will be Assimilated

According to critics, Becker’s views are simple: no American employed anywhere should have the right to resist being part of a labor union. He has written, “At first blush it might seem fair to give workers the choice to remain unrepresented.” But this is not so. “Just as U.S. citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.” Becker approvingly quoted Sen. Robert F. Wagner’s belief that “industrial democracy” is “essential to the preservation of the republican form of government”;  thus, a non-unionized employee is no different than a “non-voting member of a society.”

To end workers’ self-imposed disenfranchisement, Becker considered doing away with union elections altogether, or instituting a “reform” to “mandate employee representation, and the question posed on the ballot would simply be which representative.” In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article he rejected both possibilities on the grounds that “each would require fundamental statutory revision unlikely in the foreseeable future.” Instead, he proposes to skew all elections toward the unions, taking a blasé attitude toward election fraud. Present law allows for unions to be formed after a secret ballot election held at the workplace, where both management and labor may appoint observers to guard against electoral abuses.

Becker wants to change this, from top to bottom. He believes the NLRB should strip companies of the right to speak out against unionization at work, bar them from preventing – or even protesting – voting fraud, and deny them nearly all right to petition the NLRB. Management should not be allowed to talk about the dangers of unionization on company grounds, as the law has allowed since the 1930s, because in his view employees constitute a “captive audience,” yet he raises no objection to aggressive union organizers stalking workers from the parking lot to their homes. Becker is remarkably straightforward in his view that “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives,” and that “employers should have no right to raise questions concerning voter eligibility or campaign conduct.”

Under his proposed rules, ineligible voters – possibly full-time union employees who do not work for the company – could show up on election day, cast their proud ballots for SEIU, and if the firm ever found out, it would have no means of recourse. He argues entrepreneurs lack “the formal status either of candidates vying to represent employees or of voters”; they simply exist to pay the wages unions demand. Should they object, Becker advocates curtailing businesses’s right to contest NLRB rulings in federal circuit court.

Although Becker has proposed heavy-handed “reforms” that would force many anti-union workers to cough up union dues, he has argued these provisions could be accomplished “with almost no alteration of the statutory framework,” as his views simply “give effect to existing guarantees.” He is now biding his time until confirmation. When Orrin Hatch asked, in writing, whether still held to these beliefs, Becker replied he would “maintain an open mind” about whether they “should be implemented in any manner.”

He also justifies unions’s more extreme protests. He would allow unions to call intermittent strikes, which some call “grievance strikes” – sudden, brief, and rolling work stoppages that momentarily paralyze a company. Federal law does not protect such strikes, but Becker would. Critics similary charge, with the advent of the Employee Free Choice Act (“card-check”), Becker has become more radicalized. Former NLRB chair William Gould has expressed concern Becker will implement card check provisions even if the act is never becomes law (which it likely will not).

ACORN’s Good Man

Sometimes a man’s supporters and detractors tell you as much about him as his record. One Becker-backer wrote that he had “crossed paths with Craig for more than 20 years” and found Becker to be “a secret weapon for workers,” making his appointment “a big win no matter how you bake it.” That supporter was Wade Rathke, founder of ACORN and co-founder and chair of the Tides Center. Coincidentally, Rather happens to be an international board member of SEIU. (An ecumenical leftist, he also has ties to the AFL-CIO.) Becker worked with Chicago SEIU local 880 and on the issue of organizing home health care workers in Illinois; six days after the union donated $200,000 to then-Governor Rod Blagojevich, he signed a law that nearly doubled the local’s membership and, according to one source, tripled its income (from $7 million to $21 million). At the same time, SEIU local 880 funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues to ACORN front groups. Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com has discovered that in 2000, SEIU 880’s accounting was handled by Dale Rather, who embezzled at least $1 million from ACORN. Accounting duties were later taken over by Wade Rathke.

Incidentally, this week Illinois home health care workers voted – in a secret election – and defeated the attempted unionization by a two-thirds vote.

Becker’s ties to a notorious embezzler, the head of a group some in Congress contend is structured as a criminal enterprise, and a disgraced governor demand a thorough investigation.

Obama’s Big Labor for Big Labor

The appointment is one of President Obama’s latest paybacks to Big Labor. SEIU President Andrew Stern, who now enjoys unprecedented access to the Obama administration, is a charter member of the Shadow Party, having sunk $5 million of SEIU’s money into the Democracy Alliance. The alliance, a group of far-Left political investors led by George Soros, made its home at SEIU headquarters in Washington, D.C. Stern also took a seat on the executive council of Americans Coming Together, Soros’s get-out-the-vote organ.

Out of ideological kinship and electoral debt, Obama began paying the union back. He signed a series of executive orders – drafted by Becker, who was still employed by SEIU and the AFL-CIO at the time – to reserve federal funds for unionized contractors.[1] Obama repealed a Bush-era proposal to slow the rate at which OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) draft fiat regulations. His MSHA head, a 20-year leader in the United Mine Workers, blamed the 2006 Sago mine disaster on President George W. Bush. And Obama’s hostile takeover put the United Auto Workers in the driver’s seat of General Motors.

Socialized Medicine: Look for the Union Label

The unions, meanwhile, have become part of the president’s permanent army. SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Change to Win, UAW, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, and the United Food and Commercial Workers union are the main players in the Soros-funded Health Care for America Now! (HCAN), the national “grassroots” organization protesting for socialized medicine. Some 18,000 union members crowded common citizens out of town hall meetings late this summer. Labor leadership has pledged to keep up the pressure on weary Blue Dog Democrats to include the “public option” in the final health care bill, allowing Obama to socialize one-sixth of the U.S. economy without expending his own political capital in the process.

The Alinskyite Backlash Begins

Were it not for John McCain’s action this week, Becker would surely have coasted to Senate confirmation. The day McCain placed the hold, the Senate HELP committee voted 15-8 to approve him. Politico notes the Obama White House has widened its smear campaign beyond talk radio and Fox News; it is now trying to “neuter” the Chamber of Commerce. (One method is by going to the Chamber’s constituent members, under the pretext of avoiding a meeting with “lobbyists.” This is rich, considering Obama let an SEIU lobbyist outline his executive orders on labor.) AP reporter Sam Hananel happily picked up the White House talking points, noting McCain’s “remarks echoed complaints by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of business groups that claim Becker’s views are ‘out of the mainstream.’” Nowhere does Hananel reveal the depths of Becker’s radicalism. Look for the White House to paint McCain as an obstructionist doing the bidding of evil corporate tycoons. The reality is the reverse: virtually the only objective Obama has successfully carried out is implementing key portions of SEIU’s agenda.

For that kind of truth, you have to rely on talk radio, Fox News, and the Chamber of Commerce.

ENDNOTES:

1. Michelle Malkin. Culture of Corruption,pp.  198-99.

  • josephwiess

    The time for unions to disappear is way past due. In today's work market, if a person doesn't like what's going on, they can simply hand in a resignation and find work elsewhere.
    However, if every business is forced to have a union, then there would be no escape clause for people who want to remain individuals.

    Unions cost businesses lots of money. Consider the auto industry: each worker is payed 37 dollars an hour or more, and most of that goes toward pensions and healthcare costs. That 37 an hour drives up the cost of the finished product, which means that car that should cost about 12k, now costs 40k. Unions are also notorious for keeping mediocre employees on the payroll, which costs the business more money.

    So, what are we to do? We call for an end of the union and assert our rights as citizens to keep our wages and our workplaces free of thuggery.

  • Carterthewriter

    Long ago, the big labor unions exposed themselves as just another organization collecting money from its workers and building bureaucratic entities that provided no security for their membership only for their leadership. Their attitude mirrors that of the present government entity which they align themselves with in a final attempt to gain notoriety.
    If you want another deduction added to your paycheck similar to Medicare and Social Security, the results of that forced expenditure only serve to fill the pockets of administrators who could care less where the money came from nor if it was used for the purpose it was originally withdrawn for.
    Many can be seen sitting in front row seats at sporting events, frolliking with younger women.

  • coyote3

    I recall when I was hired. Although, the area where I live and worked, is not known for being a high wage, or highly unionized area, many people laughed when they learned of my salary and hours (then no overtime pay). They even laughed at my insurance. About the only thing I really had over them was the pension, but we were young, at the time, and nobody really cared about that. Many of these people were union employees in the private sector. They made fun of my job, and thought it was funny that I would go to school, while working, what for?

    That was then, this is now. Many of the jobs these people had no longer exist, and those laid off are working in other industries, for reduced wage/benefits. Those left, have had to take major wage/benefit concessions. I could still be working my job if I wanted to. No one is laughing anymore. Their unions failed to do anything about job security, when times were good, and they the chance to do. Raises of multiple dollars per hour, strict work rules, and extended vacations only benefit you, “if” you have the job. No one is laughing anymore.

    The fact is, the workplace has changed. Unions are trying to organize employees that there unions had nothing to do with in terms of a trade. Unions are certainly not “bad”, but like any other organization that came about because of a need, much of that “need” has disappeared. They only interested in these non traditional workers, “now”, because they have seen their membership decrease by attrition, and regardless of the reasons for it, those jobs are not coming back.

  • PhilByler

    John McCain's record this year is conservative and as good as any. McCain voted AGAINST every Obama bailout bill. McCain voted AGAINST every Obama deficit spending bill, denouncing the multi-trillion dollar deficit spending as “generational theft,” a phrase thereafter used by Sean Hannity and more recently by Rush Limbaugh. McCain voted AGAINST the confirmations of tax cheat Geithner, radical pro-abortion advocate Sebellius, leftist Kagan and transnational legal theorist Koh to their respective positions in the Obama Administration. McCain voted AGAINST the confirmation of Sotomayer to the U.S. Supreme Court. McCain’s OPPOSITION to ObamaCare has been so vociferous that the New York Times has accused McCain of “throwing bombs” on the subject. McCain has also announced that he is opposed to this year’s Democrat cap and trade bill. McCain now has put a hold on SEIU's Becker and has introduced legislation to stop the Government takeover of the internet in anme of net neutrality. McCain deserves some credit. And I have not reminded us all that he was the one who brought Sarah Palin to the limelight.

  • MizPris

    The main pupose for politicians like those in the Democrat Party, and like those on the far left, specifically, is, a union is easier to organize in one's favor and keep them there. They only need to deal with the union leaders, rather than individual citizens when looking for political contributions, or some heft with which to lean on whichever industry including financial institutions, is “off the political plantation”, at the moment.

    It's a simple “you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours” scenario. And folks, due to the bailouts and stimulus packages, unions got payback big time for their millions in contributions, and their muscular backing. Unions like SEIU and others, and their close associates ACORN, were handsomely rewarded for their work and/or money in getting Obama elected.

    That money, and favorable treatment was paid for with your money and mine. The Thugocracy at it's best. Grifters of the first order, and it all translates into power. Power organizing, if you will.

    A side note here. We all heard that Congress defunded ACORN right? Well they did. For a month. As of October 31st, ACORN is back in the government chips once again. Oh, by the way, that's our money too!

    Trick or Treat!!!

    I'll bet not a few politicians and ACORN dupes got a laugh over that. Yep, they sure pulled the wool over our eyes huh?

    But, hey, for the liberals here, aren't you proud? Don't you love these people who rob from you and give to their thugs? They demonstrate time and time again that they care nothing for the American people including you, unless of course you work in their campaign then they'll care about you. Until, that is, the campaign is over. But, don't worry, they'll be back for more, the next election.

    And this ladies and gentlemen is why unions are important. Not for the workers, but for political power. The workers are mere suckers who have chosen three masters instead of one which would be their employer. The other two are the union leaders, and ultimately, the politicians who hold the real power to give or take away as they see fit. At least in this case, as long as they are elected and in control. As now.
    Pris

  • diginess

    The jobs aren't coming back because someone in China, Mexico, or India can and will do it for cheaper. To say they will never come back is probably false though. Eventually our living standards and those of the growing countries will start to equalize and those workers will start to expect more as well. When that happens, our governments together will probably start to form more restrictive laws on exodus of corporations, or corporate HQ located in country with workers overseas. We can also do a lot to close tax evasion loopholes.
    That being said, you do have a point in that you can't dictate your salary over the concerns of the customer. However, at the same time it doesn't make any sense to have that high of a discrepancy between the workers and CEO pay.
    Furthermore, if you can't take care of your workers and give them a decent salary, you probably don't deserve to be in business. If you can afford to but do not pay for your workers health insurance, but instead leave them in the cold, you deserve to die a fiery death.

  • diginess

    I'm seeing a lot about ACORN, but not a lot of actual background material. I take it that unions are some of your biggest opposition as a Republican party permanent member. Personally, I've only read this site for a little while (for laughs, don't take you too seriously), but let me contrast union members to large defense contractors. Isn't it the same thing? Especially when you have a VP who owns a major share in one of the biggest of them, and the money all being funneled toward a few groups. Where was the outrage then? Your outrage is completely disingenuous.

  • coyote3

    You are hallucinating? Government, in this county is already oppressive to business. As far as insurance for employees is concerned, why?

  • vancelong1433
  • Robert Wargas

    The rhetoric of unions is pure Marxism. In the world of Big Labor, there is always a bad guy and that bad guy is always the lazy, rich employer; there is always a good guy, too, and that good guy is always the tenacious, selfless worker. Translated into Marxian terms, the bourgeoisie is a feckless ruling class that will ALWAYS extract something from the lower classes.

    This neat dichotomy is not specific to the labor Left. The same type of paranoid conspiracism can be found in Nazism (Aryans vs Jews), radical feminism (woman vs men), radical race theory (minorities vs whites), etc.

  • Robert Wargas

    According to Becker's logic, since we don't have a choice whether we should have congressional representatives “bargaining” for us, so we shouldn't have a choice whether we have union reps doing the same.

    But why stop there? Why not take this logic even further? Why should we have a choice as to what food we eat, what clothes we wear, or what neighborhood we live in? Why shouldn't we have a “bargaining” rep to protect us from the evil food vendor, the malicious clothing salesman, and the greedy real estate speculator?

    What about marriage? There are those who have trouble initiating sexual relationships with others, so maybe we could all be assigned (against our will, of course) a union rep who will bargain for sex and marriage with others (who will be forced to comply, as per union-style “bargaining”).

  • Robert Wargas

    You haven't seen a lot of background material on ACORN because you haven't bothered to read it. It's everywhere, including on discoverthenetworks.org, which is another David Horowitz site. It's also well documented in Michelle Malkin's new book, and there are scores of articles on websites and in magazines about that group's extortionist past and present.

    You claim that you only read this website “for laughs,” and yet you display no indication that you read anything else for intellectual purposes, judging by your ignorance of what unions are, how they operate, and why people are upset about ACORN in light of that group's sordid background.

  • Robert Wargas

    “If you can afford to but do not pay for your workers (sic) health insurance, but instead leave them in the cold, you deserve to die a fiery death.”

    Why stop at health insurance? If a business owner has enough money to pay for the workers' food and clothes, and he chooses not to, should he also “die a fiery death”? What makes health insurance the specific responsibility of an employer?

    What about life insurance? Housing? It is conceivable, for instance, that Donald Trump has enough money to buy each of his employees a great life insurance policy as well as a huge house. Regardless of whether he does these things (I'm pretty sure he doesn't), should he die if he chooses not to?

  • diginess

    How are you going to get health insurance on your own?

  • diginess

    Fair enough on my ignorance of union operation. You didn't respond to the other issue.

  • diginess

    Hey, I don't think anyone's arguing with you. People should always have the choice to join a union or not.

  • coyote3

    What is that go to do with it? I have no problem with someone, or group of someones negotiating for health insurance, and if they do it becomes matter of contract law. However, I am not going to be able to buy a house or life insurance without a job. Does that mean an industry is required to provide me with a job?

  • antifascist18

    Methinks it is time American students had a right to choose their professors – and get rid of the indoctrinating Left Nazis like Becker.

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