NLRB goes rogue against small business

Labor Day provides the opportunity to evaluate those government agencies that impact the workplace, and gauge if they are helping or hurting the employment situation in America.

In the six Labor Days since President Obama took office, his appointees have gone to outrageous lengths to compel the 93 percent of the private-sector workforce who don't belong to an organized labor union to become dues-paying members.

While the Labor Department and the National Mediation Board have each pushed hard to create rules that overwhelmingly favor union organizers over those employees who oppose unionization, it is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which has taken the most outlandish actions in their attempt to tip the balance toward primary Democratic Party funders in Big Labor. 

Few need to be reminded of the NLRB's general counsel's failed attempt to compel Boeing Corp. to remain in union-friendly Washington state, rather than relocating to South Carolina. After garnering national headlines and sending Congress into a frenzy, the NLRB backed down from their attempt to stop the aircraft manufacturer's move to the right-to-work state. But the audacity displayed by the agency — that they believed they could dictate company relocation or expansion decisions — made this obscure entity a national talking point of big government gone wrong.

The general counsel, at the same time, filed a lawsuit against two states whose voters had affirmed the right to secret ballots in union elections through their state constitutional amendment processes. The uproar in the states being sued was real, but this NLRB threat largely faded away as Big Labor's attempt to do away with secret elections through congressional action failed.

Now, the NLRB is going off the rails again. They have decided to destroy business franchise/franchisee agreements by allowing the corporations that spin out thousands of small businesses using their name, business model and products to be sued over the alleged actions of a few of the small, independent business.

This strikes at the heart of the independence of almost 1 million locally owned franchise businesses. If the actions of a few franchises can drag the corporate partner into legal action, then the cost of operating this small business model rapidly escalates, and the advantages of splitting profits with local, independent store operators rapidly disintegrate.

If the left wants to change the franchise laws, that is their prerogative. They need to go to Congress and seek to change the law, not go to the rogue, Big Labor-controlled NLRB to rewrite the law.

It's three strikes and you're out for the NLRB's ability to play investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner when it comes to our nation's labor laws. Legislation by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) that would rein in the NLRB's outrageous, one-sided behavior by stripping away the NLRB's adjudicatory authority, returning it to the federal justice system where it belongs.

It is time to rip the power over our nation's labor laws from this rogue body's grip and give it back to Congress and the federal court system. It is time for the House of Representatives to pass Austin Scott's Protecting American Jobs Act.

The author is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government and a former appointee in the George W. Bush Labor Department.