Obama’s Labor Board Accused of ‘Malicious Attack’ on Right-to-Work States

By Susan Jones | May 5, 2011 | 11:15 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A political battle is brewing over the Obama administration's National Labor Relations Board for its "attack" on right-to-work states.

On Wednesday, 19 Republican senators wrote to President Obama, warning him that they will "vigorously oppose" two of his nominees to the National Labor Relations Board -- if Obama doesn't withdraw their names.

The NLRB, prodded by a labor union, recently filed a complaint against the Boeing Company for its plan to transfer a second production line to a non-union facility in South Carolina. The NLRB says Boeing must maintain that production line in union-friendly Washington State.

The NLRB accused Boeing of moving the production line out of the Puget Sound area to retaliate for past strikes and to avoid future strikes by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

One of the Obama's nominees, Lafe Solomon, is the NLRB's acting general counsel who issued the complaint against Boeing. The second nominee is Craig Becker.

In their May 4 letter to Obama, the Republicans said they consider the NLRB's complaint against Boeing to be an "attack on millions of workers in 22 right-to-work states" as well as a "government-led act of intimidation against American companies that should have the freedom to choose to build plants in right-to-work states."

The Republicans urged Obama to withdraw the nominations of Solomon and Becker "immediately." And if he doesn't -- "We will vigorously oppose both nominations, vote against cloture and use all procedural tools available to defeat their confirmation in the Senate," the 19 Republicans wrote.

Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, has called the NLRB action against Boeing a "malicious attack" on right-to-work states such as South Carolina.

"This is nothing more than a political favor for the unions who are supporting President Obama's re-election campaign," DeMint said on April 20, the same day the NLRB filed its complaint against Boeing. "Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of hundreds of jobs in South Carolina and thousands of jobs nationwide. There is no doubt that if the National Labor Relations Board's claim against Boeing moves forward, it will have a chilling effect on job growth in my state and in right-to-work states across the country.

"Using the federal government as political weapon to protect union bosses at the expense of American jobs cannot be tolerated. I intend to use every tool at my disposal as a United States Senator to stop the President from carrying out this malicious act," DeMint said.

The National Labor Relations Board describes its mission as safeguarding employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also "acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions."

The Boeing Company says it will vigorously contest the complaint brought before the NLRB by the machinists' union.

"This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent," said Boeing Executive Vice President and General Counsel J. Michael Luttig in an April 20 news release. "Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region."

In their May 4 letter, printed below, the Republicans said Obama's political appointees at the NLRB -- by proceeding with the complaint against Boeing -- will only encourage companies to move their operations -- and jobs -- overseas.

The full text of their letter is printed below:

May 4, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

In your State of the Union address, you said: “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.  We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.”

We agree. Global competition for business and jobs is more important than ever as our country struggles to recover from the lingering recession and cope with the massive debt burden imposed on the economy by increased government spending.

Unfortunately, recent actions by your handpicked political appointees at the National Labor Relations Board are making it more difficult for America to win the future.

The NLRB, at the behest of Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, has taken unprecedented legal action against The Boeing Company to prevent it from expanding productions into South Carolina, a state that assures workers the freedom not to join a union as a condition of employment. We consider this an attack on millions of workers in 22 right-to-work states, as well as a government-led act of intimidation against American companies that should have the freedom to choose to build plants in right-to-work states.

If the NLRB prevails, it will only encourage companies to make their investments in foreign nations, moving jobs and economic growth overseas. America will not win thefuture if Washington penalizes workers in states that have discovered winning economic strategies. Right-to-work states have faster job growth, faster income growth, and faster population growth than forced-unionism states. This winning strategy should be duplicated nationwide. Instead, successful workers rights are being stamped out by political appointees who serve at your pleasure and have not been confirmed by the Senate.

You nominated Mr. Solomon to become General Counsel for NLRB and serve a full four-year term on January 5, 2011, yet, members of the Senate have not been able to vet him. Mr. Solomon has not appeared for a Senate confirmation hearing, nor has he been subjected to a full Senate confirmation vote. Additionally, you granted a recess appointment toCraig Becker, a former lawyer for the Service Employees International Union and AFL-CIO, to become one of the five members of the NLRB’s powerful board over widespread, bipartisan objections in the Senate to his nomination. The Senate rejected his nomination in February 2010. All 41 Republican senators wrote you a letter in March 2010 urging you not to give Mr. Becker a recess appointment, which you did later that month, effectively circumventing the will of the U.S. Senate.

The Senate has been unacceptably denied the ability to exercise its constitutional duty of advise and consent in regards to the NLRB. In light of the NLRB’s recent actions that would have a deleterious effect on job creation and economic opportunity across the country, it is time to hold the NLRB accountable.

We urge you to withdraw both Mr. Solomon’s and Mr. Becker’s nominations to their respective positions immediately. If not, we will vigorously oppose both nominations, vote against cloture and use all procedural tools available to defeat their confirmation in the Senate.


Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Senator David Vitter (R-LA)