Conservatives are in a froth because the National Labor Relations Board attorneys are merely pursuing a legal case against Boeing for shifting plans for a new factory to a state with weak labor laws to blunt the ability of its unionized to go on strike.
Last week, House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa called for gutting the agency in response, saying, “we could eliminate the NLRB or take the premise and statutorily change it.”.
And today, he went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and insinuated that the NLRB had somehow gone rogue:
In making this case, Rep. Issa is willfully spreading ignorance to gin up hatred for the simple act of trying to enforce laws on the books.
Rep. Issa said: “If the labor union wants to make a suit, make a suit, but for the government to use your tax dollars to pursue, I think that’s a mistake … When the government prosecutes you and spends its millions and you’re guilty until proven innocent through constant appeals, that’s probably overstepping.”
But it’s not a “mistake” for NLRB attorneys to make a case before an NLRB judge. That’s their job! For the last 75 years, under the law passed by Congress, that’s who unions bring their complaints to be investigated
(And the NLRB receives up to 30,000 complaints a year. Pop quiz: What would Rep. Issa and his fellow conservatives say if all those were turned into traditional lawsuits filed in federal court? … The correct answer is: “Frivolous lawsuits”!)
Furthermore, in this Boeing case, the government hasn’t engaged in “constant appeals.” The initial ruling hasn’t even made yet to be appealed! The vast majority of NLRB cases get settled anyway, and this one still can.
Besides, either party can pursue an appeal if they lose, to a Senate-confirmed panel of NLRB judges, and to the federal courts after that.
It’s a little something called “checks and balances” that our Founders came up with. If you think “appellate system” means “guilty until proven innocent,” then you have a problem with the American judicial system.
Conservatives routinely talk about the NLRB case against Boeing as if the NLRB attorneys have usurped a fascistic power to dictate the business decisions of any CEO for any reason. But all that has happened is an allegation has been made through proper channels, and it will be handled fairly through our judicial system.
The only thing a little different here is that under President Obama, a government agency tasked with enforcing our laws seem to have an actual interest in doing so when it comes to corporate behavior.
For some reason, that’s giving conservatives like Rep. Issa the vapors.