Originally posted at the Alliance for Worker Freedom.
This past week, the White House released a new list of nominees for key posts within the administration being sent to the Senate for approval. Included is the re-nomination of labor radical Harry Hoglander to the National Mediation Board, where he currently serves as Chairman and has presided over one of the most controversial rule making decisions in the Board’s history. If Chairman Hoglander is approved by the Senate, his new term would run through July, 2014.
During his time on the board, Chairman Hoglander has demonstrated his willingness to go to any length to institutionalize Big Labor’s radical agenda. In 2009, Chairman Hoglander and Board Member Linda Puchala pushed through the NMB’s new “minority rule.”
Overturning 75 years of precedent, the new rule stacked the deck in favor of unionization as now a majority of voting workers is able to determine union representation—as opposed to the old rule which required a majority of all workers to elect a union.
This swiftly undercuts every individual’s right to choose representation. Unsurprisingly, Chairman Hoglander is a former Executive Vice-President of the Air Line Pilots Association, an organization that pushed heavily for the dramatic rule change.
The rule change itself has been controversial enough to warrant several instances of Congressional rebuke. The House of Representatives passed a reversal of the rule change in this year’s FAA Reauthorization Bill, which is pending in the forthcoming Senate—House conference.
Adding to the fire just last week, Reps. Darrell Issa [R-CA] and Dennis Ross [R-FL] of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Chairman Hoglander requesting information regarding improper actions surrounding the writing of the rule. Among the charges are claims that Chairman Hoglander and Member Puchala published the rule without the input of then-Chairman Elizabeth Dougherty, and even sought to “prevent the publication of Member Dougherty’s dissent.” The letter also questions the suspicious timing of the removal of applications for representation by two labor unions with clear ties to members of the Board, allowing them to receive more favorable treatment under the new set of rules. The Alliance for Worker Freedom had previously taken direct issue with several of these questions. The fact that the President could re-nominate a figure embroiled in such controversy shows either profound stubbornness or ignorance.
President Obama’s re-nomination of Chairman Hoglander is hardly an unexpected turn of events, given the President’s track record of repaying Big Labor’s big money with political favoritism. The President is largely expected to re-nominate Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) before his term ends this December. Mr. Becker, who received a recess appointment by the President following his rejection by the Senate, is a former Associate General Counsel to both the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Among other controversies, Becker once argued that “workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.” Mr. Becker has recently out done even himself by playing a pivotal role in NLRB’s decision to file a complaint against Boeing for expanding from Washington to the right-to-work state of South Carolina. More than just an assault on right-to-work states, this action stands as an assault on every American’s right to choose where, when, and how to do business.
Harry Hoglander’s re-nomination illustrates President Obama’s preference for handing out political favors to those who will help most with his reelection bid. Mr. Hoglander, and Mr. Becker for that matter, have no place on the nation’s foremost labor relations boards given the conflicts of interest brought about by their past job titles alone. Their actions while serving on their respective Boards have only gone to prove their inability to put their required duties ahead of their political ideologies. The Administration will clearly stop at nothing to administer its radical agenda, repeatedly rejected by Congress, through bureaucratic backchannels and pay-for-play politics.