By Michael O'Brien - 06/29/11 01:25 PM EDT
A pro-business group asked Republican presidential candidates to make attacks on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) a centerpiece of their campaigns.
The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) is pressing the GOP presidential contenders to take a more active role in opposing the NLRB, which stoked conservatives' ire by filing suit in an attempt to block Boeing from relocating a plant to South Carolina because of the state's right to work laws.
The Republican presidential candidates do seem to think that the NLRB challenge works to their advantage; they've mentioned it often during the early stages of the campaign, particularly during stops in South Carolina. The issue is especially important to the state's governor, Nikki Haley (R), and has become more of a litmus test among primary voters as well, who have expressed outrage at the NLRB decision.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) accused Obama of "choos[ing] union bosses" over workers by touring a plant in Iowa that would presumably be hurt by the NLRB decision, because it supplies parts to Boeing. (The plant has disputed Romney's assertion.)
The other campaigns have been vocal, too. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has called for defunding the NLRB, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said the board recalls "the Soviet Union, circa 1970s or 1960s or '50s."
WFI also complained that the NLRB is looking to redefine collective bargaining rules to unions' advantage, and asked the presidential candidates to speak out more forcefully against that, too.
"The many employees and employers who make up the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) hope that your candidate will closely examine the actions of the NLRB and speak out against its job-killing agenda," wrote Wszolek.