Media Neglect NLRB Overreach

by Trey Kovacs on December 16, 2011 · 5 comments

in Labor, Politics as Usual

The notorious Boeing vs. NLRB lawsuit is settled. Unfortunately, only Big Labor and the Obama administration gain from the Boeing and IAM agreement.

Boeing chose to submit to union demands in order to save their $1 billion investment in South Carolina and end the legal battle, as they suspected the NLRB would not drop the case until Boeing agreed to a contract with IAM.

Although the agreement works out for Boeing and workers in South Carolina, the case sets a dangerous precedent for future labor disputes. Now employers know the NLRB will blatantly side with Big Labor and strong-arm companies into concessions during collective bargaining. Regrettably this allows Big Labor to accuse employers of trumped up charges while the NLRB covers the legal costs.

The Obama administration sent a clear message to the business community: special interests determine policy. The message undoubtedly will be heard, creating a chilling effect on businesses and discouraging U.S. investment.

However, mainstream media coverage buries these details below the fold. The headlines describe Republicans as getting worked up over nothing. Or that everything worked out and the controversy is over. Not surprisingly, the texts of mainstream reports hold opposing views from their headlines and primary sources.

The Associated Press headline: “Labor deal with Boeing mutes NLRB challenge talk.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) must have missed that memo. Sen. Graham’s press release, after the Boeing deal, headline reads, “Graham Calls for Investigation into NLRB-Union Collaboration.

Then Sen. Graham outlines the steps he will take to reign in the NLRB:

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is calling for a congressional investigation into collaboration between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union against The Boeing Company’s decision to build a second 787 Dreamliner production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina… Graham also reaffirmed today he will continue to place an indefinite Senate hold on nominations to the NLRB Board.

Sen. Graham seems certain he will continue to challenge the NLRB.

Politico’s headline diverges from the facts as well: “Union vote quells NLRB controversy.” Politico declares the Boeing and IAM deal should end the controversy:

A Boeing Machinists union voted late Wednesday to approve a four-year contract extension, likely ending a months-long labor debate that provoked Republican attacks on the National Labor Relations Board and the White House.

Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) Chairman of the Workforce and Education Committee, statement on the NLRB’s decision to withdraw the Boeing complaint stands in direct opposition to Politico’s report.

Rep. Kline’s statement reads:

The need for congressional action has never been more urgent. It is time for the Senate to stand up for our workforce and pass the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act – bipartisan legislation that will prevent the board from dictating where a private employer can and cannot create work. Congress has a responsibility to ensure the board is never again able to exercise this kind of job-destroying power.

The most egregious reporting comes from MSNBC. Their headline reads, “GOP candidates hail NLRB’s decision to drop Boeing suit.

Then MSNBC goes on to quote most GOP candidates. All GOP candidates have condemned the Boeing issue. Romney’s take echoes the sentiment of all candidates:

The fact that the Board acted at the request of the union bosses tells us all we need to know about who is calling the shots, Romney’s statement read. Thanks to President Obama’s appointees, the NLRB has become a rogue agency that tramples on the rights of American workers and businesses.

The Boeing controversy is far from over and will have lasting effects. The headline from Education & the Workforce Committee Republicans accurately sums up the impact of NLRB actions, “NLRB to Job Creators: Seek Opportunity Elsewhere.”

It is too bad those in media have decided it is done reporting on the ongoing story.

Don Thompson December 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm

What a bunch of hypocrites! So the Republicans are all upset that government might be siding with labor unions, all the while they accept graft and campaign funds from big business. Gee, why do you suppose they are so upset?

RNB December 17, 2011 at 11:39 am

Obviously Don still subscribes to the myth that big business supports only Republicans. Guess that’s why the CEO of General Electric and other big crony capitalists are spending so much time over at the White House the last coupla years. On the other hand, unions and trial lawyers are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. And the Obama administration pays back their union friends — like the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Glenn Stephens, Ph.D,, Esq. December 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

The GOP chicken little, whining is unbearable. Buck up crybabies . .

For 8 years the Board leaned pro-employer. In a series of decisions, the Bush Board bent over backward to decide cases for employers, limiting the rights of workers. Pandering to the directions of the National Right to Work Committee and the Chamber of Commerce and radical Republicans in Congress (many of whom are former management side lawyers), they limited employee rights in a number of ways.

For example, two of the highest profile organizing drives in the country were taking place in high education and among nurses. So they stripped TAs and RAs of coverage of the Act and redefined the definition of supervisors to render charge nurses ineligible to vote. Good strategy. Because employers couldn’t win elections among RAs and TAs or in hospital elections with charge nurses voting, they simply removed them from elgibility to vote.

Now the Dems are in, and true to the pattern of the last 80 years, they lean more pro-union. You go your turn, we get ours!

But the Republican view of fairness only allows one path. It is no longer fair for the Board to tilt one way when they get in, another when the Dems do.

So when the Board doesn’t anything they don’t like they piss and moan.

RNB December 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

‘You go[t] your turn, we get ours! / But the Republican view of fairness only allows one path. It is no longer fair for the Board to tilt one way when they get in, another when the Dems do.’

The above needs to be laminated and hung on the wall as a perfect expression of amoral political corruption.

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