Monday, April 5, 2010


This latest Obama move practically guarantees to screw things up:


By Jim Garrettson

March 29, 2010

Executive order 13502 from February 2009 garnered relatively little attention when it was issued. It reads, “in order to promote the efficient administration and completion of Federal construction projects,” executive agencies are allowed to require contractors working on federal construction projects to implement “Project Labor Agreements.”

This order applies to any construction, renovation or rehabilitation project that costs over $25 million, and encompasses all agencies but the GAO. The order also rescinded Bush’s Executive Order 13202 from February, 2001, which prohibits the government from requiring contractors to abide by these agreements, or discriminating against contractors for “refusing to become or remain signatories or otherwise to adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or other related construction project(s).”

Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) require all employees working on a specific project to abide by the same collective bargaining agreement. This enables the hiring of non-unionized contractors, but typically requires them to pay into multi-employer union pension plans, putting non-union contractors at a financial disadvantage because they must pay for the union plan and for their existing company plan, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors. Another problem for contractors is that many union pension funds are underwater, according to this recent article in the Washington Times. Employers bound to collectively bargained agreements are forced to cover costs for underfunded union pensions when other contractors drop out.

All this wouldn’t be troubling to government contractors (apart from construction firms, green building specialists, electrical engineering firms, etc.) but for the recess appointment of H. Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Despite the failure of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check) to gain much political momentum in Congress, Becker, a former lawyer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has authored several writings that suggest many of Card Check’s provisions could be implemented administratively, without congressional approval.

Mark Mix, of the National Right to Work organization, writes that in 2007 alone, Mr. Becker’s litigation forced 63,000 California workers to pay union dues after rejecting union membership. Also, he supported “home visits” by union backers to pressure workers into signing public union-organizing petitions. Unions were “formed to escape the evils of individualism and individual competition. . . . Their actions necessarily involve coercion,” Mr. Becker once explained.

Defending America's workers from the abuses of compulsory unionism since 1968.

Mr. Becker also writes that a “core defect in union election law . . . is the employer’s status as a party to labor representation proceedings” and that “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.”

It’s worth noting that government contracting expert Jacques Gansler linked the current push for insourcing to union concerns when ExecutiveBiz interviewed him last year: “[Insourcing] is strongly influenced by government worker unions. Congress, as we all know, has been passing laws against competitive sourcing. Congress is stating that you will no longer have competition between public and private sectors — that’s clearly to satisfy the unions.”

Also, because of the government contracting industry’s unique position (working primarily for the government), the government gets to mandate how the industry treats its employees, something it can’t do for other industries. Take the Franken Amendment, for example, or Executive Order 13494, an Obama order that prohibits contractors from taking action to prevent their employees from unionizing.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council hasn’t yet issued a final ruling on the PLA order, which might be why it hasn’t received much attention. In fact, Brett McMahon of the Associated Builders and Contractors told the Washington Times “because the executive order was crafted so poorly, it has raised a lot of legal questions.”

However, with the appointment of Craig Becker to the NLRB, we might not have to wait much longer for clarification of these orders.

We are beginning to see way too many echoes of the 1930s, as national socialist and Marxian socialist thugs try to drive competing political views off the streets. The worst offenders so far have been the Service Employees' International Union, which has repeatedly sent its members out into the streets to beat up anyone who isn't toeing the Obama line on issues like socialized medicine.

You know what this means to me? More government intrusion means all the more reason NOT to hire employees. My company has NO employees - I subcontract EVERYTHING. The lawyers and accountants make a little more business off me, and the little people suffer; that's how it works when government butts in. - Sean Linnane


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