All the President's Regulators

By: sanlu22 | Posted: 05th January 2011

"Just as no one wants to live in an area riddled with crime, nobody wants to live in a neighborhood where workers are paid sweatshop wages,"
Smith said when announcing the program in January 2009. "New York Wage Watch will increase labor law compliance by giving regular people a
formal role in creating lawful workplaces statewide, and thereby improving the quality of life in their communities. It will also help law-
abiding employers, who struggle to compete with businesses that undercut them by violating the law."
But in practice empowering "regular people" actually means that the government is deputizing unions to help police workplaces.
"New York Wage Watch is labor law enforcement at the purest, most grassroots level," boasted Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail,
Wholesale and Department Store Union, in the press release announcing the program.
Boylan, who runs the initiative, was nominated by Obama to head the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour division, but her nomination was
withdrawn in October. Smith, who actually devised the Wage Watch program in New York, was appointed by Obama to be solicitor of labor. Sen.
Mike Enzi (R-WY) placed her nomination on hold, meaning that Democrats will need 60 votes to move it forward. Her status was still in limbo
as of this writing.
Even more worrisome for the American business community is President Obama's attempt to pack the National Labor Relations Board with union
lawyers who would make rulings that would achieve many of the same results as labor-friendly legislation. The most obvious example of such
legislation is the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The bill's two major provisions would deny workers a secret ballot in
voting on whether to unionize, and force employers into binding arbitration proceedings when negotiating contracts with unions. To this date,
Republicans have succeeded in preventing EFCA from becoming law, but the bill's legislative fate may not even matter if Obama gets several
controversial nominees to the labor panel confirmed.
Currently, there are only two members on the five-member NRLB -- one is a Republican and the other a Democrat. To tilt the balance of the
board, Obama tapped two union lawyers (Craig Becker and Mark Pearce). He also appointed a Republican Senate staffer, Brian E. Hayes, in hopes
it would dissuade Republican senators from blocking the other two.
Becker, a longtime labor activist, is the associate general counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The left-wing
magazine In These Times wrote that he "helped lay the intellectual foundation for the Employee Free Choice Act." More relevantly, he wrote a
law review article arguing that the major aims of EFCA could be achieved through rulings by the regulatory body to which Obama has appointed
This article is copyright
Printed From:

Back to the original article

Tags: free choice, u s department of labor, wage and hour, obama