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New Bush-Appointed NLRB Could Cause Serious Damage to Labor


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#1 Bill

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Posted July 06 2003 - 10:23 AM


Labor Law

New Bush-Appointed NLRB Could Cause Serious Damage to Labor Law (June 24, 2003)

By Cynthia Green

Yet another weapon in the Bush administration’s anti-worker arsenal is the freshly packed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the five-member body charged with enforcing federal labor laws.

The latest President Bush has only just finished staffing the now-Republican-dominated board, so blockbuster decisions have yet to be handed down. But the board is now dominated by appointees hostile to labor, so it’s just a matter of time before the true Republican colors of the Bush NLRB come through.

Bush appointed all five current board members, including three Republicans, all of whom were confirmed by the Senate in December of 2002. Their terms are staggered, with one Republican’s appointment expiring in August.

Already, the NLRB has shocked the labor community with its decision to support a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business trade group seeks to strike down a California law preventing employers from using tax dollars for anti-union campaigns. The NLRB filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing the Chamber’s position in the appellate court case.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said the decision is “outrageous as it marks a sharp departure from the Board’s primary mission of protecting workers’ rights.”

Nathan Newman, a lawyer at New York University law school’s Brennan Center for Justice, said it’s “quite remarkable” that the Bush-packed NLRB has taken a hypocritically anti-federalist stance against state law, one that practically mandates corporations to spend government grants and subsidies to fund union-busting.

“We’re not even talking about a particularly draconian law,” Newman said, noting that the current California statute does not prevent companies from spending their own money to fight unions.

“California’s law simply protects taxpayers by making clear such uses of state funds – pro-union or anti-union – are unauthorized,” Sweeney said.

Newman said the NLRB’s intervention itself was notable. “They don’t do that often, especially in a case that doesn’t address a decision that they made,” he said.

With the board now at full complement, momentum may build for employer-friendly verdicts. The labor community may soon face tinkering to or even reversals of Clinton-era decisions concerning graduate school organizing rights, employees’ ability to discuss workplace issues over e-mail, representation of non-union employees, the status of temporary workers, and so-called “paycheck protection” issues, Newman said.

Carl Ver Beek, a Michigan-based management-side labor lawyer, said the decision “pendulum,” particularly on certain key issues, tends to swing back and forth between administrations, depending on which political party controls the White House.

“Issues having to do with how unions organize and what tactics are permitted are issues that will continue to shift with the makeup of the board,” Ver Beek said. Further, “entrepreneurial rights,” or those concerning plant location and relocation, as well as subcontracting, “are always going to be viewed differently by the appointees of the two different parties,” Ver Beek said.

The longer Bush is in office, the more pain the NLRB could inflict.

“I expect the acceleration of right-wing anti-labor policies to explode in the second term, if there is one,” Newman said. If Bush wins another four years in office in 2004, it’s more likely there will be a “frontal assault on the National Labor Relations Act that would further gut labor rights across the board,” he said.

The NLRB’s role in this broader campaign will be established case by case, Newman noted. Incrementally, the NLRB’s interpretation of case facts can have a “chilling effect” on labor law, he said.

“There now appears to be a majority … that takes a different look at a few of the employment cases in a way that is more favorable to employers,” said Ver Beek, the management-side labor lawyer. He described the shift under Bush as “discernible” but not “radical,” and he said that in a few cases, the new board has chosen not to go “more directly against unions.”

Even so, the White House has made no secret of its intent regarding workers’ rights. Having consolidated Republican power from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol dome, the Administration is operating on multiple fronts in the battle against working families.

Trillions of dollars in reverse-Robin-Hood tax policies have rewarded the rich while robbing federal program funding and burdening future generations with the real-life price of ballooning budget deficits. Complex and costly new union reporting requirements have stacked the deck even more dramatically against organized labor. Bush has blocked strikes at airlines, while pressing Congress to bail out the disastrously run aviation companies to the tune of billions.

And these are just a few of the ways that the administration is systematically squeezing out the priorities of ordinary Americans.

“They even went after the 40-hour work week,” Newman said, referring to Bush-backed legislation that would erode overtime pay protections. “These guys are trying to roll back the reforms of the last century.”

Current NLRB members include Chairman Robert Battista, Rene Alexander Acosta, Peter Shaumber, all Republicans, and Democrats Wilma Liebman, a reappointment from the Clinton administration, and Dennis Walsh.

Congress created the independent agency in 1935 to enforce federal labor law. Its two major components – both appointed by the president and subject to Senate confirmation – are the board, which decides unfair labor practice cases, and the general counsel, currently Arthur Rosenfeld. The general counsel, who is independent from the board, handles the investigation and prosecution of cases and oversees NLRB field offices in processing the cases.

Cynthia Green is a freelance writer.

© 2003 Labor Research Association




Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
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#2 EdHeisler

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Posted July 06 2003 - 11:05 AM


As does James Hoffa´s collaboration with the Bush government. He should resign his three Bush government job appointments.

And it would be real nice if James Hoffa would speak out loud and clear against all of the anti-union and anti-worker actions of the Bush government.

Hoffa has about as much influence over the Bush government as I do. None. All Bush has to do is throw a tiny crumb Hoffa´s way, like a little government training grant, and he almost cums in his pants.

Feel the Power!

#3 Bill

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Posted July 06 2003 - 11:21 AM

It doesn´t matter who you hate or love, if these paragraphs don´t scare the crap out of you, you don´t belong in Labor:

"The longer Bush is in office, the more pain the NLRB could inflict.

“I expect the acceleration of right-wing anti-labor policies to explode in the second term, if there is one,” Newman said. If Bush wins another four years in office in 2004, it’s more likely there will be a “frontal assault on the National Labor Relations Act that would further gut labor rights across the board,” he said."

Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
Will Rogers 1879 - 1935

#4 EdHeisler

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Posted July 06 2003 - 11:33 AM


Our rights to organize, strike and conduct effective union actions have already been gutted under the NLRB, Railway Labor Act, Taft-Hartley Act, Landrum-Griffen Act, etc.,

It can´t get much worse. And organized labor is doing little or nothing to challenge these anti-union and anti-worker acts.

Few union officials even mention the Taft-Hartley Act anymore.

These laws will ultimately be challenged and defeated in the streets. We obviously have a ways to go before that happens.

And what makes it really hard is when a few, a very few, union officials actually collaborate with one of the most anti-labor governments in this nations history. And those officials who oppose Bush seem to be flaying about aimlessly unable or unwilling to mobilize the union ranks to fight this anti-labor government.

Has the labor movement leadership entirely forgotten how to fight? Have they never learned how to fight and beat labors enemies?

#5 EdHeisler

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Posted July 06 2003 - 11:39 AM


How soon we forget. General President Hoffa applauded Bush´s appointments to the NLRB.

Hoffa Statement on NLRB Appointments
May 10, 2002

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is encouraged by the National Labor Relations Board nominations announced today by President Bush.

The nominations of Robert Battista and Peter Schaumber, along with the pending nominations of Alex Acosta and Dennis Walsh indicate recognition that the Labor Board should be brought up to full strength through the appointment of nominees who fairly balance the interests of labor and management.

The President’s decision to appoint Robert Battista as Chairman further demonstrates his concern for the Board as an institution. Although a representative of management for the last 35 years, Mr. Battista has an enviable reputation as a tough but fair advocate who believes in the integrity of the Board and appreciates the fundamental policies embodied in the National Labor Relations Act.

The Teamsters Union is prepared to support a package that includes these nominations along with the re-nomination of Board Member Wilma B. Liebman. Since her appointment, Board Member Liebman has demonstrated a commitment to protecting the rights of working men and women that are at the heart of the National Labor Relations Act.





#6 Bill

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Posted July 07 2003 - 09:05 AM

What can I say Ed?
We can sit on our duffs and blame our problems on those or in your case one individual. Or we can attempt to insure these things never exist.

Pointing a finger accomplishes nothing. Working towards correcting our problems is whathas to be done by all of us.

How many people do you know who did not bother to vote? How many people do you know, who like yourself voted for a third party and possibly allowed what we are living with today. You of all people should know better.

It is going to take all of us, on the same page to overcome this next election. Quite simply put are you voting for or against Labor. That doesn´t require a rocket scientist to figure out.

It´s time my friend to stop pointing fingers and it is past time to start doing.
Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
Will Rogers 1879 - 1935

#7 EdHeisler

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Posted July 07 2003 - 09:29 AM


And when do you think General President James Hoffa ought to end his collaboration with the Bush government? Do you even think he should?

There is nothing wrong with pointing fingers when someone is doing exactly the wrong thing. You do it all the time.

Don´t you agree that James Hoffa and ever other self-respecting union official ought to oppose this anti-labor and anti-worker government and go all out to fight it?

If you agree, what actions do you believe the IBT General President and other union officials should take to effectively fight the union busting actions of President Bush?

Don´t blame the appointment of George Bush to the presidency on me. I´m not a member of the Supreme Court. And don´t blame Al Gore´s failure to easily win the election on me. I´m not responsible for his failures.

Most people are not looking for a "moderate" or "liberal" Democratic party politician for salvation. They are not. We can´t rely on oursiders to fight our battles for us. And we certainly cannot depend on corporate sponsored candidates and a corporate run and financed political party to represent all of labor, organized and unorganized. That simply will not happen.

The attacks on labor and decline of organized labor will continue no matter who is elected president in the next election. A real second political party will probably do much better in the next election. The Democratic party is not a second political party. They are hardly an opposition party. They sure don´t function like one.

We need a two party system ... at least two political parties! Right now we have for all practical purposes a one party system with the Democratic Party running to the right to catch up with the Republican party.

You think the Democratic party should run more "moderates" which is exactly what they have done on a grand scale. Just what the doctor ordered. A "Republican lite" political party.

#8 Bill

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Posted July 07 2003 - 12:34 PM

What you have pointed out is exactly what we do have in the Polotical Arena, an "oxymoron".

We can no longer rely on the Democratic Party to undo damages created by this hostile regieme. Fact of the matter is, they won´t. Which leaves us asking, why do we vote Democratic?

We vote Democratic because they give us fair representation on the NLRB and in who heads the Dept. of Labor. Aside from that, and THAT is a biggee, I can find no other reasons.

I can only forsee one way to bring Democrats back into the Labor fold and that is to hit them where it hurts. By that I mean with a sense of direction we have got to start voting those Democrats in name only, OUT OF OFFICE.

I believe we can maintain a Democrat in the White House for all the obvious reasons and still clean the ranks of the Democratic Turncoats. We may not have the house or the senate durring this period but the job can and has to be done.

You dwell where you must. I spend very little time worrying about the decisions made by our Labor Leaders, or whom they are in concert with.

The obvious needs to be done and that we can do with or without their support.
Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
Will Rogers 1879 - 1935

#9 MollyMaguire

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Posted July 07 2003 - 01:00 PM

Bill, its been a long time. Hope your doing well.

You don´t find it a problem that OUR general President endorsed the appointments to the NLRB? I do.

As strong as you sound on Labor issues on this board, it stuns me on how you STILL push the Democrats! I like Eds term, " Republican Light".

Thats all they are and deep down you know it. Deep down you also know that we need a party that cares for working people.

The lesser of two evils doesn´t work. Not now. We need to activate Union members and all working people to bring about change.

We just need some leadership with BALLS! I think most working people are ready.
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. ...Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

#10 Bill

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Posted July 07 2003 - 01:28 PM

Hello Molly
Yes it has been a long time and I too wish you well.

As I said to Ed we are beyond finding problems with our leaderships choice of likeings and dislikes.

Molly it would seem utopian to believe that we could start up a third political party and have it play a pivotal role with a chance of winning. Unfortunately that is not to be, and you have got to know that.

A third party is just exactly that. A spoiler, taking enough votes from one to give the election to another.

You can do like Ed and spend your time denouncing our leader for his as you percieve them, misconceptions, or you can grow beyond that and realize the time to correct what has happened to our detriment in the political arena is NOW and only common sense will prevail.

Fighting amongst ourselves is never going to solve anything, just add to the exasperation. We need a strong Democratic Party able to return to it´s roots and again represent the working people of our fine nation. Until we get that we will continue to suck hind teet.
Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
Will Rogers 1879 - 1935

#11 MollyMaguire

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Posted July 07 2003 - 01:50 PM

Bill don´t you hear what you are saying?

In my opinion, the effort to bring back Democrats to the working people would take as much work as bringing about a viable alternitive! I don´t trust them anymore!

Time for something new. Many things were thought to be unatainable Bill, yet they came to be.

If all working people thought like you, ( huge numbers), and we could educate them as to what was going on, WE COULD MAKE IT HAPPEN BILL!!!!

After all, you yourself said that isn´t an alternative. Thats just a defeated view.

We just have to show working people there is one. Think about it Bill, OUR power is enormous, we just have to funnel it in the right direction.
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. ...Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

#12 Bill

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Posted July 07 2003 - 02:01 PM

Molly
Yes I do hear what I am saying. Until a third party becomes recognized by a large enough segment of our society to allow it a conceivable chance at winning. The American public is going to remain with the two party system.

The only question is. Will the American Public support an overhaul of the Democratic National Policy or will they be willing to bypass it for a more progressive party.

I have yet to see any one that has gotten beyond the talking stage and unfortunately neither has the American Public.

Molly I don´t claim to have all of the answers, but what I am offering is a possible solution. I am always open to finding a better mouse-trap.
Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
Will Rogers 1879 - 1935

#13 MollyMaguire

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Posted July 07 2003 - 03:02 PM

Bill and Vegas Jim.

Both of you guys amaze me! But I love you both!!!

Give me a LEADER that has the Balls to speak out about working peoples rights, talks up Unionism, Tells the truth about whats going on in Iraq, and you have a THIRD PARTY!!!!

You guys talk about "vacumns, and all that other ****!

Its all bullshit. The powers that be(corporate Americe), Had a plan, it worked.

We now have to re-educate working people. Or at least wake them up!!!

Our History is full of text about fighters. All types of fighters.

It took action to get what was needed.

Vegas Jim. I wish I had your education. Please use it!
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. ...Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

#14 MollyMaguire

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Posted July 07 2003 - 03:31 PM

Vegas Jim. I have listened to those candidates, I do like what they say. Do they mean it?
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. ...Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

#15 MollyMaguire

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Posted July 07 2003 - 03:56 PM

Exactly Jim, Thats the problem. We do have Honest, Caring Worker friendly candidates!! Sooooo How do we get them elected and hold them to the fire?

There is one of those candidates that I would endorse, Who do you think it is?
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. ...Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

#16 HAZ

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Posted July 07 2003 - 04:20 PM

Bill, it should be clear after watching 99% of the House, voting for the Patriots Act (without even reading what they voted for)! We only have a one party system! And so, how can anyone vote the third when in actuality, there´s only one! Hello! wake up WORKERS and UNIONIST! It´s way past time for a party of our own! You bushites can call us progressives commies all you want, however, "The motor force of PROGRESS is truth and not lies." :-o ........Ed, all the Landrum- Griffin Act is´nt that bad for WORKERS read, take the best and leave the rest!
John W. Hazouri

#17 Bill

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Posted July 07 2003 - 05:09 PM

HAZ
I understand exactly what you are saying, if you will remember I am an active paying member of the Labor Party. Believe me when I say I had hopes for our future.

Just as I am not a Bushite it is time for you to face reality. The American Public is not now ready to embrace a third political party as being on a par with the two majors. Granted given enough time that may come to pass. If it hasn´t appeared to you yet, let me be the first to enlighten you. WE DON´T HAVE ANYMORE TIME!!

IF Bush is re-elected Labor will be able to count their blessings in ONE Basket by 2008. It won´t be worrying about putting all their eggs in one basket, more so just greatful to still have a basket to put their ONE egg in.

Vote third party, divide the vote and just what on earth do you think will happen? I don´t care if his name is Moonstruck Moonbeam we have got to get a Democrat into the oval office next year or we can start lining up the fat lady for a few solo´s.

Pie in the sky and yeah buts are all history. We either take a stand right now for Organized Labor and the working men and women of this country or we can kiss it all goodbye. This is not a joke my friend. All of the players are in place and giving Bush four more years will be signing our death warrant.

Togather we can make this happen, but we better start damn soon.
Bill T

Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won't work.
Will Rogers 1879 - 1935