The AFL-CIO Pulls Obama’s Marionette Strings


Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO once said that he talks to the White House “daily.” Although Trumka looks like the sort of who watches reality television and votes numerous times for nameless starlets in dancing competitions, we have to assume that he’s not discussing his preferred winners with the President. Rather, we have to safely assume that he’s wielding all that influence he and his union cronies gained in the last election, using it to direct the administration’s policies. Lately, it’s seemed he focusing a lot on how to make air travel worse for millions of Americans: by increasing the strangle-hold labor unions have on the airline industry.

One likely topic is the National Labor Relations Board and its action against Boeing. That case centers on the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and its complaint that Boeing established a plant to manufacture 787 Dreamliners in South Carolina. The planes are already being made at Boeing’s plant in Washington State, but labor strikes over the years have made it increasingly difficult to keep the production line on schedule and labor costs overall have increased. Washington is a union state, therefore workers on the line are compelled to join and are compelled to support IAM strikes…There is nothing wrong or illegal about any of Boeing’s actions. But the IAM complained in 2007 and the case got a ruling from the NRLB in April 2011. The NRLB ruled in favor of the union and against Boeing.

The finding actually said that Boeing executives’ statements that union slowdowns had directly impacted their production capabilities were “coercive” and “threatening.” It was so ludicrous that Republicans in the House decided to launch an investigation into exactly how the NRLB came up with it “ruling” and became doubly committed to passing a Right-to-Work law that would shore up similar laws in several states. Turns out, figuring out how the NRLB got from Point A (complaint) to Point B (sheer insanity) was easy. One of the guys on the NRLB is none other than controversial Obama appointment Craig Becker, who, among other items on his resume, worked as legal counsel for SEIU and for ACORN. Since he was a recess appointment, as Bryan Preston points out, he never got vetted. So, there’s that.

There’s also a neat little factoid: the head of the IAM, the machinists union behind all this nonsense, is…yeah…Richard Trumka.

Then there’s the little matter of the National Mediation Board. Last year, the NMB, who is charged with settling airline and railroad dispute and who’s board is hand-picked by Big Labor, decided that the age old adage, “no means no” was, instead, merely a suggestion. They overturned nearly 100 years of precedent when they decided that workers not voting for collective bargaining would not automatically count as a “no” vote. In other words, it used to be that unions needed a majority of all of the workers in a shop to vote for collective bargaining, with workers who didn’t vote at all were counted as “no” votes. Last year, the NMB made it so that ANY majority vote could create a collective bargaining unit, no matter if every worker got a say in the matter or not.

Needless to say, the vote was fishy. Even the Board’s Bush-appointed President tried to head off the maneuver, taking her story to the press. It turns out, there was little to no discussion on the rule change, no consideration about how damaging it was to the US economy (something NMBs since Roosevelt have recognized), or what the impact of the change would be. She mentioned that “[h]er Democratic colleagues’ frantic rush to change a 75-year-old rule “gives the impression that the Board has prejudged this issue,” and is trying to “influence the outcome of several very large and important representation cases currently pending.”

The large and important cases currently pending? Yeah…

The AFL-CIO letter was inspired by Delta’s acquisition of Northwest. Northwest was largely unionized but Delta wasn’t. The unions are now struggling to win the required new elections, and they want the Mediation Board to manipulate the rules in their favor.

SHOCKER. The IAM again, would like to unionize all of Delta’s employees. The IAM is part of the AFL-CIO. And the AFL-CIO is headed by Richard Trumka, the man who talks to the White House every single day. I wonder where the Democrats could have gotten the brilliant idea that the NMB’s rule needed to be changed ASAP?

No, really, I don’t wonder.

Luckily, House Republicans again caught on and just a month ago, they voted to take the teeth out of the NMB’s decision. Needless to say, the unions weren’t happy. Now the vote is headed to committee and a few Senators are set to determine the future of collective bargaining forever. They include Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), John Ensign (R-NV), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dems John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Max Baucus (D-SC) – some of the favorites. The AFL-CIO is, predictably, totally losing it’s s*** over this, pressuring it’s members to ensure that the NMB’s miraculous decision in favor of unfettered worker’s rights for the downtrodden and poor remain intact and out of the hands of those dastardly Republicans.

Maybe those Senators need a call?

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