Workforce Fairness Institute

THE BIG LABOR PAYBACK
Congress Seeks To Reward Special Interest At The Expense Of Jobs, Workers & Employers

Union Bosses Expected Payback Even Before Obama Was Inaugurated:

After Helping To Elect Obama In 2008, Labor Unions Expected “Payback” From The New President. “Gerald McEntee, president of the influential American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told The Washington Times in an interview that EFCA was ‘payback’ for the labor movement’s massive campaign effort for Mr. Obama and the Democrats … ‘I think our people have to be able to see that the Democrats, including Obama, are fighting … for these kinds of things and not backing off or backing away,’ Mr. McEntee said.” (David R. Sands, “Labor’s ‘Priority’ On Back Burner,” The Washington Times, 12/29/08)

Labor Bosses Spent Heavily During 2008 Presidential Election:

Big Labor Put Up “About Half A Billion Dollars.” “There has been nothing coy about the Democratic presidential candidates’ courtship of Big Labor.  After all, union endorsements come with armies of door-knocking, phone-calling, sign-waving foot soldiers; union leaders will spend about half a billion dollars on political campaigns this election cycle.” (Tim Miller, “Giving Away The Store,” The New York Post, 12/17/07)

Labor Unions Began Working To Collect In The First Obama Term:

  • The Employee Free Choice Act. “Two days after Mr. Obama’s win, AFL-CIO head John Sweeney called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a long-stalled bill designed to boost a union’s chances of organizing a workplace, the ‘No. 1 legislative priority’ for organized labor.” (David R. Sands, “Labor’s ‘Priority’ On Back Burner,” The Washington Times, 12/29/08)
  • Approving “Ambush” Elections. “In a win for organized labor, the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday approved sweeping new rules that would speed the pace of union elections, making it easier for unions to gain members at companies that have long rebuffed them.  Business groups quickly denounced the move, saying it limits the time employers have to present their own case to workers about the impact of joining a union.” (Sam Hananel, “Business Groups To Fight New NLRB Rules,” The Associated Press, 12/21/11)
  • Recess Appointments To National Labor Relations Board. “After making an end run around Senate Republicans to fill the top job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday, President Barack Obama ran the same play again a few hours later, making three recess appointments to bring the National Labor Relations Board to full strength.  The president used his power to name Sharon Block, Terence Flynn and Richard Griffin to the board, which arbitrates workplace disputes and federal labor issues and has recently drawn considerable fire from Republicans after it sided with an aircraft workers’ union in a dispute with aerospace giant Boeing … The move was a big score for labor and Obama’s allies on the left, who congratulated the president for muscling past Republicans bent on blocking his agenda.” (Joseph Williams, “President Obama Appoints Three To NLRB,” Politico, 1/4/12)
  • Supporting “Micro-Unions.” “In a case known as Specialty Healthcare, the [NLRB] decided that the union could seek to organize a group that consists only of nursing assistants, a blow to the employer, which wanted to include other nonprofessional employees in the unit.  Employer groups had been concerned the board would use the health-care industry case to endorse the formation of so-called mini-bargaining units in a range of workplaces, which they said would allow unions to target small groups of workers the unions know would support unionization.” (Melanie Trottman, “NLRB Sides With Unions In Three Cases,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/30/11)

Union Bosses Sought To Use “Administrative Action” On Obama Labor Board To Enact Agenda:

Once Again, Labor Looks To “Change The Rules.” “We are very close to the 60 votes we need.  It [sic] we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action...” (Stewart Acuff, “Restoring The Right To Form Unions And Bargain Collectively,” The Huffington Post, 2/3/10)

Labor Bosses Spent Hundreds Of Millions During 2012 Presidential Election:

Big Labor “Lift[s] Democrats This Election Year.” “Unions are gearing up to spend more than $400 million to help re-elect President Barack Obama and lift Democrats this election year in a fight for labor’s survival.” (Sam Hananel, “Unions Gearing Up To Spend Big In 2012 Election,” The Associated Press, 2/22/12)

  • Headline: “Unions Look For Benefits From Obama Re-Election.” “Going into his second term, President Obama may find himself more beholden than ever to America’s labor unions, even as their membership continues to decline – lately, to just 11.8 percent of the workforce.  The unions, as in 2008, contributed heavily in manpower and money to Obama’s election this year.  The president, in return, has made a point of supporting them…” (Doug McKelway, “Unions Look For Benefits From Obama Re-Election,” Fox News, 12/31/12)

But The Obama-Labor Payback Hit A Roadblock When The President’s NLRB Appointments Were Challenged:

  • Early In His Second Term, Obama’s NLRB Recess Appointments Were Declared Unconstitutional. “President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate last year to appoint three members of the National Labor Relations Board, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a far-reaching decision that could severely limit a chief executive’s powers to make recess appointments.  The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit marked a victory for Republicans and business groups critical of the labor board.  If it stands, it could invalidate hundreds of board decisions over the past year, including some that make it easier for unions to organize.” (Sam Hananel, “Court Says Obama Appointments Violate Constitution,” The Associated Press, 1/25/13)

So Big Labor Is Now Pushing For An End To The Filibuster:

  • Labor Leaders Want Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid To Kill The Filibuster So They Can Advance Their Agenda. “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka predicted Wednesday that – unless Republicans back down first – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will hold a vote to change the chamber’s filibuster rule … Big labor has been aggressively pushing Democrats  to change the filibuster rule.  They are upset over both the lack of action on President Obama’s pick for Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and the five nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.” (Sean Higgins, “AFL-CIO’s Trumka: Senate Democrats Will Go Nuclear On Filibusters,” The Washington Examiner, 7/10/13)

Flashback – Leading Democrats Once Opposed The Nuclear Option To End The Filibuster:

In 2005, Then-Senator Barack Obama: Nuclear Option “Not What The Founders Intended.” “At the National Press Club on April 26, 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about a move being discussed by Senate Republicans, then in control, to change the Senate rules so as to require a mere majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to end a potential filibuster.  ‘You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward,’ then-Sen. Obama told the audience … ‘And what I worry about would be you essentially have still two chambers – the House and the Senate – but you have simply majoritarian absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the founders intended,’ Obama said.” (Matt Loffman, “Obama Quotes On Senate Rules In 2005 Given New Scrutiny,” ABC News, 2/24/10)

In 2005, Then-Senator Joe Biden: “This Nuclear Option Is Ultimately An Example Of The Arrogance Of Power.” “We should make no mistake.  This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power.  It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party, propelled by its extreme right and designed to change the reading of the Constitution, particularly as it relates to individual rights and property rights.  It is nothing more or nothing less.” (Senator Joe Biden, Senate Floor Speech, http://www.gpo.gov/, 5/23/05)

In 2005, Senator Harry Reid: “You Should Not Be Able To Come In Here And Change Willy-Nilly A Rule Of The Senate.” “Mr. President, this is the way it should be.  You should not be able to come in here and change willy-nilly a rule of the Senate.” (Senator Harry Reid, Senate Floor Speech, http://www.gpo.gov/, 5/23/05)

In 2008, Senator Harry Reid: The Nuclear Option Would “Change Our Country Forever.” Q: “Just so our viewers can better understand what was the nuclear option and what likelihood is there we’re going to have to face nuclear option questions again?”  REID: “What the Republicans came up with was a way to change our country forever.  The Senate was set up to be different.  That was the genius, the vision of our founding fathers that this bicameral legislature which was unique had two different duties.  One was as Franklin said, to pour the coffee on to the saucer and let it will loft.  That’s why you have the ability to filibuster and to terminate filibustering.  They wanted to get rid of all that and that is what the option was all about.” (C-SPAN’s “After Words With Harry Reid,” http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/3839666, 9/12/08)

  • In 2008, Senator Harry Reid: Nuclear Option Would Never Occur “As Long As I’m The Leader” As It Would “Ruin Our Country.” Q: “Is there any likelihood that we are going to face circumstances like that again?”  REID: “As long as I’m the leader, the answer is no.  I think we should just forget that.  That is a black chapter in the history of the Senate.  I hope we never, ever get to that again because I really do believe it will ruin our country.” (C-SPAN’s “After Words With Harry Reid,” http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/3839666, 9/12/08)

In 2005, Then-Senator Hillary Clinton: Nuclear Option An “Assault On The Idea Of The Senate.” “You have a House of Representatives where you have majority rule, and then you have this Senate over here where people can slow things down, where they can debate, where they have something called the filibuster.  It seems as if it is a little less than efficient.  Well, that is right.  It is, and deliberately designed to be so … What is happening now with this assault on the idea of the Senate, on the creation of this unique deliberative body that serves as a check and a balance to Presidential power, to the passions of the House, which has exercised the opportunity to create consensus with respect to judicial nominees, is that we have a President who is not satisfied with the way every other President has executed his authority when it comes to judicial nominees.” (Senator Hillary Clinton, Senate Floor Speech, http://www.gpo.gov/, 5/23/95)

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