Biden Packs The Government With Big Labor Partisans While A Summer Of Strikes Threatens The Economy

President Biden Keeps Pushing Union Partisans For Key Labor Positions In The Federal Government And They Are Dutifully Rewriting Labor Laws And Regulations To Favor Unions, All While Big Unions Are Striking Or Threatening Strikes In Many Critical Economic Sectors

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This week, Senate Democrats are attempting to tip the partisan scales and weaponize a regulatory authority that impacts millions of American workers and businesses. The Senate’s longstanding practice is to fill Democrat and Republican vacancies on important boards and commissions in tandem. But instead of pairing Gwynne Wilcox, President Biden’s choice for a Democratic seat on the National Labor Relations Board, with a Republican counterpart, our colleagues would like to create an artificial liberal super majority.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/06/2023)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “Washington Democrats’ runaway inflation continues to send headwinds through the American economy. Credit-card debt is at an all time high. And in historic numbers, workers are concluding that Democrats’ Big Labor allies are not in their corner. Fewer and fewer employees want to hand their hard-earned money over to union bosses—and last year just 6% of the private-sector workforce belonged to unions. Just this year, one major union had to fire its president for misusing workers’ dues. And officials from at least two other organizations are facing lengthy prison terms for embezzlement. All the while, committed partisans like Ms. Wilcox and liberals at the NLRB have made it their mission to run roughshod over American employers, stack the deck for Democrats’ Big Labor allies, and keep corrupt and failing unions on life support with a tangled mess of regulations. The last thing our country needs is an emboldened partisan majority at the wheel of the NLRB. But unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’ll get if Democrats confirm Ms. Wilcox’s nomination by itself.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/06/2023)

President Biden Likes To Boast About His Naked Partisanship For Big Labor

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “I’m proud to be the most pro-union president, according to the experts about — in American history.  And that’s — And by the way, I make no bones about that.” (President Biden, Remarks, 9/04/2023)

Biden Is Keeping Union Partisan Julie Su As Acting Secretary Of Labor, Even Though She Lacks The Votes To Be Confirmed By The Senate

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member: “Mr. President, today marks 175 days since Julie Su’s nomination was officially transmitted to the Senate. This is the longest a cabinet nominee has waited for a floor vote. Under the Federal Vacancy Reform Act, an individual can only perform the role of a cabinet-level position without Senate confirmation for … 207 days. It was created to require the consent of the Senate. Su was unable to get the votes needed for confirmation. Instead of rejecting the nomination, the Biden administration is attempting to circumvent Congress and the constitution to invoke Department of Labor's Succession Act, which they claim allows them to have Ms. Su serve as Acting Secretary of Labor indefinitely even though lacking the votes for confirmation. This is unacceptable.” (Sen. Cassidy, Floor Remarks, 9/05/2023)

  • SEN. CASSIDY: “As a Republican, I don't expect to agree with the political positions of a Biden nominee, but I will remind my colleagues that former Secretary Marty Walsh received strong bipartisan support for his unquestionable experience of handling negotiations. He worked to develop trust from both labor unions and the business community. However Ms. Su does not appear to be in that mold. And she has not received the votes necessary for confirmation even when the president's party is in the majority. I urge President Biden to withdraw Ms. Su's nomination and put forward a nominee committed to fair enforcement of our nation's labor laws.” (Sen. Cassidy, Floor Remarks, 9/05/2023)

“Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su said Thursday she has no ‘intention of going anywhere’ as her Senate confirmation is stuck in limbo more than six months after she was nominated by President Biden. ‘I’m all in for doing it,’ Su said in an interview with The Messenger. ‘I don’t have an intention of going anywhere.’” (“Acting Labor Secretary: ‘I Don’t Have An Intention Of Going Anywhere,’” The Hill, 9/01/2023)

“She sailed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on a party-line vote in April. However, her confirmation has stalled amid pushback from moderates, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).” (“Acting Labor Secretary: ‘I Don’t Have An Intention Of Going Anywhere,’” The Hill, 9/01/2023)

Vice President Kamala Harris Is Even Flaunting Her Administration’s Defiance Of The Senate, Declaring, ‘I Call Her Labor Secretary. I’m Not Going To Say The Word “Acting”’

“Politico reported in July that the administration was looking to leave the acting secretary in her role indefinitely under a Labor Department rule that allows a deputy to serve in an acting capacity without any specified time limit. Vice President Harris made a point of declining to call Su ‘acting secretary’ at an event last month. ‘I call her Labor secretary. I’m not going to say the word ‘acting,’’ Harris said.” (“Acting Labor Secretary: ‘I Don’t Have An Intention Of Going Anywhere,’” The Hill, 9/01/2023)

REMINDER: Julie Su Is An Unabashed Pro-Union Activist, Not A Fair Leader For A Department That Must Balance The Interests Of Workers And Employers

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF LABOR JULIE SU: “Mr. President, when you said you wanted to be the most pro-worker, pro-union President in history and restore decency and build the middle class, I said, ‘Sign me up for that.’ I want to help do that.” (Deputy Sec. Su, Remarks, 3/01/2023)

SU in 2005: “The very definition of a corporation as an entity that is created to permit maximum income and designed to insulate the individuals who will profit from liability for the acts of that entity, seems to promote and perpetuate economic injustice. … But executive salaries are only a small part of the problem.  The real problem, and the larger challenge, is the growing ability of corporations to use, abuse, and exploit poor people anywhere in the world, and do this through subcontracting for labor.” (Julie Su, “The Progressive Crtitique of the Current Socia-legal Landscape Corporations and Economic Justice Corporations and Economic Justice,” Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 11/2005)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “President Biden’s legislative agenda has little chance in the current Congress, but that means he’ll try to govern even more through regulation. It also means his regulatory and Cabinet nominees deserve extra scrutiny, and an example is Julie Su, his choice to run the Department of Labor. Currently the deputy secretary, Ms. Su has a record of putting union interests above those of individual workers or flexible business models that workers like but unions oppose… In the top job she’d be in a position to intervene on behalf of unions in looming labor negotiations that could have a major economic impact. Maritime employers and longshoremen are sparring over a new contract, while UPS and the Teamsters began negotiating a new contract this week. The country needs a Labor secretary who is a credible arbiter, not a union partisan.” (Editorial, “A Big Labor Partisan Named Julie Su,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/18/2023)

Some Of The Largest, Most Politically Powerful Unions Are Pushing Su’s Nomination

“Large labor unions including the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are crafting plans to defend Su, union officials said.” (“Battle Over Biden Labor Nominee Julie Su Heats Up,” Reuters, 4/10/2023)

The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, is leading a new campaign in support of Su, Director of Public Affairs Ray Zaccaro confirmed to CNN. The campaign, led by AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, will include a six-figure digital ad buy targeting Arizona and other states, as well as Washington, DC. The federation is also committing resources and mobilizing the 60 affiliate unions nationally as part of the effort.” (“Key Senate Democrats Remain Non-Committal On Biden’s Labor Secretary Pick Ahead Of Confirmation Hearing,” CNN, 4/19/2023)

Big Unions Are Pushing Senate Democrats To Move Biden’s National Labor Relations Board Nominee Gwynne Wilcox, Herself A Former Union Lawyer

“Union leaders … are becoming increasingly worried that Democratic leadership in Congress is not prioritizing a critical confirmation to the National Labor Relations Board … With Hollywood on strike … three union leaders told NBC News that Democrats are lacking urgency in pushing through President Joe Biden’s nomination of Gwynne Wilcox … for a second term.” (“Union Leaders Are 'Frustrated' With Democrats As Key Nominee Awaits A Vote,” NBC News, 7/21/2023)

“The National Labor Relations Board is poised to release a number of decisions in [late August] with the potential to significantly alter the nation’s labor doctrine in favor of unions, as Democratic board member Gywnne Wilcox’s term draws to a close later this month. The cases, which have been fully briefed, are part of an effort NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo outlined two years ago to overturn roughly 50 board precedents. The board has already adopted several of her desired changes to labor law … Wilcox, a former union lawyer who has served on the board since 2021, is up for confirmation in the Senate, but lawmakers didn’t bring her renomination to a vote before the August recess.” (“Pro-Union Shift Expected With Labor Board Member’s Pending Exit,” Bloomberg Law, 8/21/2023)

“If the board dwindles to three out of five members, union leaders said, it would be effectively hamstrung from implementing worker-forward policies. ‘More or less, it means whatever precedent is in place, whatever rulings are in place, everything gets kind of frozen,’ said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. ‘It’s in the interest of workers, and certainly in the interest of the unions that workers have, to have a functioning board with good, strong, pro-worker advocates. The NLRB is supposed to make it easier for workers to organize, not harder.’” (“Union Leaders Are 'Frustrated' With Democrats As Key Nominee Awaits A Vote,” NBC News, 7/21/2023)

And Biden’s Treasury Department Is Essentially Publishing Pro-Union Propaganda

“A new report from the Treasury Department is singing the praises of labor unions as several high-profile strikes and labor contract negotiations reverberate across the economy. The report situated unions within the concept of the middle class and found that unions help to raise wages and benefits for workers and have economic ‘spillover effects’ that lead to improved social norms.” (“Treasury Touts Labor Unions During ‘Summer Of Strikes,’” The Hill, 8/28/2023)

“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen described her agency’s report Monday as ‘the administration’s latest action to strengthen the important role of labor unions in our economy.’ ‘It’s the Treasury Department’s first major effort to lay out the rationale for why we think this is so important,’ she said.” (“Treasury Touts Labor Unions During ‘Summer Of Strikes,’” The Hill, 8/28/2023)

“‘Union workers have been the backbone of America’s middle class, and yet for too long the contributions of union workers have not been fully appreciated,’ Vice President Harris, who serves as the head of the White House task force on worker organizing, said about the Treasury’s findings on a call with reporters Monday.” (“Treasury Touts Labor Unions During ‘Summer Of Strikes,’” The Hill, 8/28/2023)

Biden’s Pro-Union NLRB Appointees Spent The Summer Tilting The Playing Field Towards Their Big Labor Supporters

President Joe Biden’s Appointees Are Poised To Dramatically Reshape’ Labor Law And Regulations

“D.C.’s slowest month is going to be one of the busiest for the nation’s labor cops. President Joe Biden’s appointees are poised to dramatically reshape the work lives of tens of millions of workers and the businesses that employ them.” (“Businesses Brace For Deluge Of New Regs From Biden’s Labor Cops,” Politico, 8/03/2023)

“The regulatory rush is partly being driven by the calendar. NLRB, in particular, is facing a time crunch as Democratic board member Gwynne Wilcox’s term expires August 27. … Democrats currently have a 3-1 majority, but the board has historically refrained from issuing precedent-shifting decisions and taking other controversial actions without at least three votes in support. Chair Lauren McFerran, whom Biden tapped in 2021, is viewed outside the agency as an institutionalist unlikely to break from that precedent, so Wilcox’s absence could bring consequential actions to a halt.” (“Businesses Brace For Deluge Of New Regs From Biden’s Labor Cops,” Politico, 8/03/2023)

‘The Biden Administration Can’t Pass Its Union Agenda Through Congress, So The National Labor Relations Board Is Rewriting Labor Law By Itself’

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The Biden Administration can’t pass its union agenda through Congress, so the National Labor Relations Board is rewriting labor law by itself. Behold the agency’s recent charges against Amazon that effectively strip employers of speech and property rights. Unions have been campaigning to organize Amazon warehouses around the country. Workers can choose whether or not to unionize, but NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo is putting her thumb on the scale by accusing Amazon of violating the National Labor Relations Act and requiring the company to give unions unfettered access to its facilities.” (Editorial, “The NLRB’s Union Assault on Amazon,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/16/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The Biden National Labor Relations Board has been busy rewriting longstanding labor law to assist its unions friends. And the latest example came last week when President Biden’s appointees moved to eliminate secret ballot elections on the sly.” (Editorial, “. . . And Union ‘Card Check’ by the Back Door,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/01/2023)

  • “The NLRB Cemex case deals with run-of-the-mill allegations by the Teamsters that a building material company committed unfair labor practices during a union election campaign. Rather than neutrally arbitrating these allegations, the NLRB used the case to unveil a new regime for recognizing unions that threatens to strip workers of an organizing vote. Current NLRB policy is that unions must show that 30% of workers have signed ‘cards’ in favor of unionization. Then they must petition the board for a secret-ballot election. Secret-ballot elections rarely produce as much support for unionization as card signatures since workers get to hear competing arguments from an employer. The Cemex decision shifts the burden to employers to petition the NLRB for a secret-ballot election when a union requests to be recognized based only on a show of cards. Henceforth, any employer presented with a majority of employee-signed cards must either immediately recognize the union or petition within two weeks for an election. Unions could prevail by default if employers don’t know they have to ask for a secret-ballot election. But here’s the kicker: The NLRB also decreed that an employer found to have committed an unfair labor practice in the runup to the election will have its petition dismissed, the election set aside and union automatically recognized. This is an invitation for unions to flood the labor-friendly NLRB with meritless complaints, knowing they will result in automatic recognition. It’s also an opening for the board to throw out elections when workers vote against unions. Cemex will apply retroactively to all pending cases, so some employers could wake up to discover that their workers are unionized.” (Editorial, “. . . And Union ‘Card Check’ by the Back Door,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/01/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Democrats have long demanded ‘card check’—i.e., forced recognition by a majority of workers signing cards. Barack Obama and Joe Biden campaigned on card check, but neither could get legislation through Congress. The NLRB is now enacting it by decree.” (Editorial, “. . . And Union ‘Card Check’ by the Back Door,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/01/2023)

Who Is Biden Rigging The Game For? Not Workers, But Corrupt Union Bosses Who Notoriously Misused Workers’ Hard-Earned Money

In June, ‘The Longtime President Of The Boilermakers Union’ Was Ousted Because ‘He Used Members’ Money For Personal Gain’

“The longtime president of the Boilermakers union, with international headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas, has been ousted by his own executive council, accused of misappropriating union funds for personal use. Newton B. Jones, who has led the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers since his father retired in 2003, was removed from office following a hearing [in late May].” (“‘This Misuse Is Shocking.’ Kansas City, KS-Based Union President Ousted By Executive Staff,” The Kansas City Star, 6/05/2023)

“The [Kansas City] Star investigated the Boilermakers in 2012, finding that Jones and other executives were living the good life. Jones’ salary and business expenses totaled more than $607,000, which put him above the presidents of the biggest unions in the country. The newspaper also found that several of Jones’ family members and relatives of other officers were earning hefty union salaries as well. A followup story in 2017 found that little had changed. Six-figure salaries were still common for officers and their relatives, as were fine dining, stays in posh hotels and expensive hunting retreats. Cars were still given as parting gifts for retired employees, and hundreds of thousands of dollars continued to be spent on promotional events and videos — all while membership continued its downward spiral and the union’s pension fund struggled to stay afloat.” (“‘This Misuse Is Shocking.’ Kansas City, KS-Based Union President Ousted By Executive Staff,” The Kansas City Star, 6/05/2023)

  • “Some of his relatives remain on the payroll, including his wife, who as “special assistant to the international president” received salary and disbursements of $210,369. Jones’ son, Cullen, made $115,422 as film project coordinator. And Jones’ daughter, Shea, received $113,590 as a graphic artist…. The union also spent $8,522 at DaVinci’s Ristorante on Marco Island in Florida and $63,048 for transportation to a labor conference in Italy. Other reported expenses: $6,489 at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Kansas City and a $36,000 deposit to Paul Nelson Farm, a renowned hunting lodge and corporate retreat center in Gettysburg, South Dakota.” (“‘This Misuse Is Shocking.’ Kansas City, KS-Based Union President Ousted By Executive Staff,” The Kansas City Star, 6/05/2023)

Earlier This Year, The Former President Of An Illinois AFSCME Chapter Pled Guilty To Charges Stemming From His Embezzlement Of $200,000 From The Union

“The former president of the Alton [Illinois] chapter of the AFSCME labor union admitted involvement in the transportation of stolen money after he was caught embezzling more than $200,000 from the organization. Byron Clemons, Sr., 35, of Alton, pled guilty … in a U.S. District courtroom to one count of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Money…. Clemons was the president of AFSCME’s Local 124 in Alton from June 2017 through January 2022. According to court documents, Clemons withdrew a total of $202,100 from the Local 124’s U.S. Bank account from February 2021 to January 2022. The defendant used the funds to gamble at casinos and pay personal expenses.” (Southern District Of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office, Press Release, 4/12/2023)

And Last Year, A UAW Official In Michigan Was Sentenced To Over 4 Years In Prison For Embezzling $2.1 Million In Union Funds That He Used For Gambling And Purchases Of Expensive Vehicles And Cocaine

“Timothy Edmunds, the former Financial Secretary Treasurer of Local 412 of the United Auto Workers union, was sentenced to 57 months in prison today based on his convictions for embezzling $2.1 million in union funds and for money laundering announced U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison.” (Eastern District of Michigan U.S. Attorney’s Office, Press Release, 7/26/2022)

  • “Between 2011 and 2021, Edmunds served as the Financial Secretary Treasurer of union Local 412 of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Workers of America (“UAW”)…. As an elected officer of UAW Local 412, Edmunds was responsible to hold its money and property solely for the benefit of the organization and its members and to manage, invest, and expend the funds in accordance with the UAW constitution and Local 412 bylaws. Instead, Edmunds systematically drained the Local 412 accounts of $2.1 million by (1) using Local 412 debit cards for over $142,000 in personal purchases, (2) cashing Local 412 checks worth $170,000 into accounts he personally controlled, and (3) transferring $1.5 million from bona fide Local 412 accounts into accounts that he personally controlled. To conceal his theft from other UAW officers and the Local 412 members, Edmunds created false bank statements and caused false Labor Management reports to be filed with the U.S. DOL. Edmunds supplied the fake bank statements to international UAW auditors in an effort to conceal his embezzlement. Evidence indicates that Edmunds used portions of the proceeds of his embezzlement to gamble extensively, to purchase firearms, various high-end vehicles, and to purchase cocaine. For example, between 2018 and 2020, Edmunds used the UAW Local 412 debit card to make over $30,000 in unauthorized withdrawals at the Greektown Casino.” (Eastern District of Michigan U.S. Attorney’s Office, Press Release, 7/26/2022)

Little Wonder, Then, That Fewer Workers Than Ever Want To Hand Over Chunks Of Their Paychecks To Big Union Bosses

“The private-sector unionization rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point in 2022 to 6.0 percent.” (“Union Members – 2022,” Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 1/19/2023)

“Union membership in the United States plummeted to all-time lows in 2022 … The apparent dip in union membership came even amid a wave of unionization efforts at major Fortune 500 companies.” (“US Union Membership Rate In 2022 Hit Record Low Despite Campaigns At High-Profile Companies,” Fox Business, 1/19/2023)

As Biden’s Appointees Were Stacking The Deck For Big Labor, Unions In Key Economic Sectors Took The Opportunity To Hold A ‘Summer Of Strikes’

Much Of Hollywood Is Already On Strike

“This year, workers across industries in the United States have increasingly walked off the job or threatened to do so. In July, tens of thousands of actors joined screenwriters on the picket line, bringing Hollywood to a halt. Meanwhile, a summertime strike of more than 300,000 United Parcel Service workers seemed imminent before a deal was reached last month. Now, another large-scale strike looms. The United Auto Workers union has voted to authorize a walkout of about 150,000 members at General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis if negotiations fail before contracts expire on Sept. 14. If the auto workers go on strike, the number of workers who have walked off the job at some point over the course of this year will top 450,000, the highest level since 2018 …” (“A Summer of Strikes,” The New York Times, 9/01/2023)

And Now The UAW Is Threatening To Bring U.S. Auto Companies To A Halt

“All signs point to an autoworker strike when the UAW's contract ends Sept. 14. The big question is whether the UAW targets one of the Detroit automakers — or all three at once…. UAW President Shawn Fain's fiery rhetoric, and admittedly ambitious demands, have set the stage for what could be a prolonged conflict.” (“UAW Strike Looks ‘Highly Likely’ When Contract Ends Sept. 14,” Axios, 9/05/2023)

Unions At Important Public Transit Systems In New York, New Jersey, And Philadelphia Are Also Threatening Strikes

“As the country’s public transit systems try to get back on track from the Covid-19 pandemic, Northeastern railroad unions are threatening strikes that could damage the recovery. Unions representing workers on systems vital to New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey are considering walkouts, strikes and other job actions that would disrupt the commutes for thousands and thousands of people in the most densely populated region of the country.” (“Northeast Transit Workers Threaten 2024 Commutes — And Political Headaches — Over Wages,” Politico, 8/31/2023)

“Perhaps the most bitter transit labor dispute now is one [John] Samuelsen [international president of Transportation Workers of America] is leading on behalf of 600 car inspectors, coach cleaners and mechanics who work for Metro-North, the commuter rail system operated by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority that connects New York City, the Hudson Valley and parts of Connecticut.” (“Northeast Transit Workers Threaten 2024 Commutes — And Political Headaches — Over Wages,” Politico, 8/31/2023)

“New Jersey Transit’s locomotive engineers voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a strike after years of contract negotiations stalled … New Jersey railroad employees’ last strike took place in 1983, a stoppage that lasted more than a month.” (Bloomberg News, 8/31/2023)

And Labor Strife Is Ongoing At Major Airlines As Well

“There are problems at two of the nation’s top five airlines. Labor problems. Southwest Airlines has yet to reach an agreement with its pilots, and neither has American Airlines with its flight attendants. Experts, and the flying public, are both concerned about the two carriers. Both groups have authorized a strike…. Southwest is facing a double whammy. It not only has to come to an agreement with its pilots but with its flight attendants as well.” (“Southwest Airlines, American Airlines Facing Potential Strike Issues,” TravelPulse, 9/04/2023)


Related Issues: Regulations, Nominations, Labor