Joe Biden Archives - Shopfloor

NLRB Decision: One for the (Dark) Ages

By | General, Labor Unions | 2 Comments

The Wall Street Journal editorializes on the complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board against Boeing, in which the NLRB demands that the company open a second production line in the Puget Sound to compensate for its building of a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina. From “The Death of Right to Work — After 17 months and $2 billion, the NLRB sandbags Boeing” (subscription):

We knew that Big Labor had political pull at the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board, but yesterday’s complaint against Boeing is one for the (dark) ages. By challenging Boeing’s right to build aircraft in South Carolina, labor’s bureaucratic allies in Washington are threatening the ability of states to compete for new jobs and investment—and risking the economic recovery to boot….

Beyond labor politics, the NLRB’s ruling would set a terrible precedent for the flow of jobs and investment within the U.S. It would essentially give labor a veto over management decisions about where to build future plants. And it would undercut the right-to-work statutes in 22 American states—which is no doubt the main union goal here.

With a Republican House, Mr. Obama’s union agenda is dead in Congress. But it looks like his appointees are determined to impose it by regulatory fiat—no matter the damage to investment and job creation.

Yes, union agendas and regulatory fiats that the White House has consistently endorsed, contrary to the NLRB’s proper statutory role as an independent agency that is supposed to perform a quasi-judicial function — not enable organized labor’s dreams.

But the White House had given the NLRB its marching orders.  President Obama told the AFL-CIO Executive Council in August 2010: “My administration has consistently implemented not just legislative strategies but also where we have the power through executive orders to make sure that those basic values are reflected.” And, “We’re going to make sure that the National Labor Relations Board is restored to have some balance, so that if workers want to form a union, they can at least get a fair vote in a reasonable amount of time.” Read More

Card Check and NLRB, The Vice President Speaks to AFL-CIO

By | Economy, Labor Unions | No Comments

The White House streamed the audio of Vice President Biden’s remarks Monday to the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council in Orlando, but we find no archived version or transcript. The AFL-CIO’s blog, usually eager to tout this sort of thing, offered just a brief report on the Veep’s most controversial pronouncements, “Biden to Executive Council: We Need A Middle Class.” Yikes!

Of the part of his remarks we heard, this was the relevant passage on the top issues of the day (from The Wall Street Journal):

In terms of the NLRB, we’re going to get it done. In the fight for EFCA, we’ve got to sit down and figure out where we go from here…. I think we’re going to get it done.

So, not much substance, nothing new. He spoke in vague terms about getting a Senate Republican to support the Employee Free Choice Act but moved on quickly to different topics.

Advocates for the recess appointment of SEIU attorney Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board must have been disappointed. The Vice President offered nothing along the lines of, “We need this man.”

In introducing Vice President Biden, the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka hailed the release of the White House’s Middle Class Task Force’s first report last week. Makes sense: Its content tracks closely with the political and policy lines of Big Labor, moreso than any other single document we’ve seen come from the White House.

Embattled, Embittered, Big Labor Ponders Next Move

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

This week’s meeting of the AFL-CIO’s executive council in Orlando elicits journalistic reports on how Big, Used-to-be-Bigger Labor will respond to its political failures.

Associated Press, “Organized labor’s agenda hits roadblock; what now?”

Prospects for a health overhaul have faded. Even slimmer are the chances of achieving labor’s chief goal, passage of a bill making it easier for unions to organize workers. A bipartisan jobs bill passed this week by the Senate drew tepid praise from the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, who called it a “Band-Aid on an amputated limb” – far short of what unions wanted.

This wasn’t what unions expected a year ago after spending more than $400 million to help elect Obama and increase the size of Democratic majorities in the Senate and House.

Bloomberg, “Unions Regroup After Stunned by Losses Under Obama, Democrats“:

March 1 (Bloomberg) — William George, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, blames the card-check bill. Alan Hughes, AFL-CIO chief in Arkansas, blames Wal-Mart. Charlie Flemming, a union leader in Atlanta, blames Democratic politicians.

As they meet in Orlando, Florida, this week to plan their 2010 political campaign, union leaders are reeling from a succession of defeats they never expected after helping President Barack Obama and the Democrats win elections in 2008.

What now? Well, the strategy hasn’t really changed despite the setbacks: Rely on government spending and legislation to rescue them. Last week, AFL-CIO activists rallied in Orlando:

Contending that government investment swiftly saves jobs and stimulates the economy, union leaders rallied on the steps of Orlando City Hall to urge support for a new federal jobs bill, one that would push money more quickly to state and local government workers.

Paul Wilson, president of the Central Florida AFL-CIO union, and organizers with the AFSCME public service workers union urged Congress to invest in jobs in public service, especially since Florida’s state government is facing as much as a $3 billion budget shortfall.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the AFL-CIO leadership this afternoon at Disney World. We’ll be looking for the promises of a government rescue for labor, comments on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, a renewed vow of support for the Employee Free Choice Act, and any reference to “black shirts.”


‘Black Shirts’ – Just Words or Scripted Talking Points for VP Biden?

By | General, Labor Unions | 2 Comments

We took note last week of Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks to the political and legislative conference of the Communications Workers of America, checking to see what he had to say about the Employee Free Choice Act. (Transcript.)

Amid the expected exhortation, one phrase jumped out when the Vice President attacked union opponents generally and the Bush-era National Labor Relations Board specifically for being biased against union organizers.

You know, the National Labor Relations Act says we should “encourage” – paraphrase – “encourage” unions, not mandate them, encourage them. Why? It’s good for the economy. It’s gotten lopsided, folks.

The guys who were supposed to be wearing striped shirts have been wearing black shirts the last eight years. We don’t have referees out there doing it the right way. We’re switching out the shirts, because we’re switching out the people wearing the shirts.

Black shirts? Black shirts? That’s the term used to describe the Italian paramilitary squads and bully boys who helped Mussolini’s rise to power after WWI. (Oswald Mosely’s fascists in England were also known by the term.) If you call someone a “black shirt” you’re calling him a fascist.

We chalked the use of the term up to rhetorical haste, a confusion of black hats — bad guys — and striped shirts — referees. True, you would think someone with vast foreign policy experience would be sensitive to a term like black shirt. Still, a mistake.

But the Vice President has used the term in other speeches to union groups. It’s obviously part of his stump union speech. At some point he or his speech writer said, “Yeah, black shirts. That’s good. Put that in.”

From Vice President Biden’s remarks to the 2009 Legislative Conference Of The American Federation Of State, County And Municipal Employees, May 12, 2009:

There has been a steady drumbeat. The guys wearing striped shirts were wearing black shirts, not striped shirts as referees. They’ve done anything administratively, legislatively and creatively for someone who wants to join a union to join a union.

Black shirts AND drumbeats.

Read More

Card Check: Vice President Biden Calls Somebody ‘Black Shirts’

By | Labor Unions | 2 Comments

Not seeing any coverage of Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks to the Communications Workers of America on Wednesday, we transcribed his remarks related to the Employee Free Choice Act.

The quotable parts:

You know, the National Labor Relations Act says we should “encourage” – paraphrase – “encourage” unions, not mandate them, encourage them. Why? It’s good for the economy. It’s gotten lopsided, folks.

The guys who were supposed to be wearing striped shirts have been wearing black shirts the last eight years. We don’t have referees out there doing it the right way. We’re switching out the shirts, because we’re switching out the people wearing the shirts.

Black shirts? As in Italian fascists? We assume that’s just a slip, a hasty conflation of black hats and striped shirts, but man…


So if we were just able to get a fora [sic] in which we could debate this honestly and straight-forwardly, without all the baggage, without all the hyperbole, this is something I believe right-thinking, decent Americans, Democrat and Republican, if they hear it out, would be supportive of.

No hyperbole, but the Vice President believes “right-thinking, decent Americans” would support the Employee Free Choice Act. Elsewhere, he suggests that “the good guys in the business community” understand the need for card check, and it’s the “business elites” who oppose it. Isn’t there a possibility employers might oppose the EFCA as a matter of principle? Apparently not.

The Vice President’s premise is that the system is stacked against unions that are trying to organize workplaces. But unions won more than two-thirds of the representation elections in the first half of 2008. How is that stacked against them?

Here are the transcribed remarks from the Vice President’s appearance yesterday at the joint convention/legislative-political conference of the CWA.

Tidbits from the Communications Workers of America Conclave

By | Economy, General, Labor Unions | No Comments

Keith Smith below notes Sen. Tom Harkin’s remarks to the Communications Workers of America, it’s annual legislative and political conference in Washington. We were curious as to what Vice President Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis had to say to the union members, as well.

We don’t find a transcript online, but the video of the Vice President’s remarks is posted at the CWA’s website here. In introductions the union president, Larry Cohen, hails Vice President Biden’s “perfect voting record” during his 36 years in the U.S. Senate.

“I can tell you personally, he’s working actively to help us get 60 votes to put the Employee Free Choice Act on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” Cohen avers.

We don’t find Secretary Solis’ remarks anywhere; the DOL speech section includes nothing new since April 28.

As for the Vice President, we wonder who the lucky winner was:

You Can Meet Vice President Biden

June 11, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden will address CWAers at the joint convention/legislative-political conference on June 24, and one lucky CWA member will be chosen to join the escort committee to make him feel right at home. Click here for your chance to meet Joe Biden.

The only requirements are that you are a CWA member and that you are an active contributor to CWA-COPE. If you are not currently contributing to CWA-COPE, you can sign up right here to become eligible.

Pay to play!

Card Check: What’s The Real Intent of the Bill?

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Yesterday at the Communications Workers of America’s joint convention/legislative-political conference Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) spoke in strong support of the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA.)

Sen. Harkin tried to persuade the crowd that EFCA is still “alive and kicking” despite his admissions that unless the bill is significantly changed it doesn’t have the necessary votes to get passed in the Senate.

But how significantly will it be changed?

The Senator said that any new version of the EFCA would have to be based on a set of parameters:
• Allowing for majority sign-up (that’s union speak for card check)
• Require unionized workers to receive a first contract by a date certain
• And added penalties against employers for labor law violations

Well folks, that’s still EFCA!

The Senator said that if he is unsuccessful with a “compromise” version of the bill, he will still ask to have the current EFCA legislation brought to Senator floor for a cloture vote. Why?

…so workers will know who your friends are.

Well now it’s clear that the real intent of the legislation isn’t labor law reform, it’s politics.

VP Biden to Labor Bosses: “We Owe You”

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Speaking at a conference held by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) today the Vice President made it quite clear where he stands on organized labor’s agenda and the EFCA.

The Vice President claimed: “We Bidens, we owe you.” When providing detail of what exactly labor unions are owed the Vice President called for the passage of the EFCA.

Where have we heard this before?

In a December 2008 interview with the Washington Times AFSCME’s own president – Gerald McEntee, claimed that the EFCA would be payback for big labor’s political support.

The payback would be Employee Free Choice Act – that would be a vehicle to strengthen and build the American labor movement and the middle class,

Card Check: Obama Supporters Are Opposed

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in Miami today, following up on Tuesday’s playing of President Obama’s two-week old recorded video message. President Obama just made a passing reference to the Employee Free Choice Act. We’ll see if the Vice President gives it more attention.

In saluting organized labor’s No. 1 legislative priority, the President and Vice President might also want to remember that the public – including Obama supporters – overwhelmingly opposes the Employee Free Choice Act. Recent polling performed by McLaughlin and Associates showed that 73% of Obama voters are opposed to EFCA and 86% of Obama voters believe that a worker’s vote should be kept private in a union organizing election.  81% of these same Obama supporters believe that Congress should focus on other issues like jobs and health care before dealing with EFCA.

In fact, an Obama supporter just wrote a strongly worded letter to the editor in a Pennsylvania newspaper highlighting his concerns by asserting:

If workers decide to unionize, that is their right. The laws can be modified to make it easier to unionize. But, the secret ballot should never be sacrificed! If we are to remain the greatest and the most productive country in the world, the rights of American workers must continue to include the secret ballot when deciding whether to unionize.

Card Check: Introduction May Be Soon

By | Labor Unions | 2 Comments

Adding even more butt to the scuttle about the Employee Free Choice Act being introduced Wednesday (see earlier post), we see that Rep. George Miller’s request for orginal cosponsors now sets Tuesday, February 3, as the deadline for signing on. The e-mail is appended below, again with identifying information omitted.

Typical PR event would be to have a big rally at the Capitol and then drop the bill that same afternoon.

Forecast: Snowy and windy on Wednesday. How fitting that the bill be introduced amid bluster.

BTW, last week, Vice President Joe Biden talked about timing. From the WSJ’s Washington Wire blog:

On Thursday, in an interview with CNBC, Vice President Joe Biden was asked if the administration was going to push for the Employee Free Choice Act rapidly. Biden replied that the administration would put for it “prudently,” with an understanding that there is “only so much on the plate these first couple months” and that there will need to be compromise.

When CNBC’s John Harwood replied, “Sounds like that is a 2010 or beyond issue,” Biden protested: “No, no, no, no.

“This year. This year, we hope,” he said. “Our expectation is this year, this calendar year, that we will move, and hopefully with some bipartisan support, to dealing with this issue.”

And here’s the e-mail from the House Education and Labor Committee, which MIller chairs:

Cosponsor the Employee Free Choice Act!

Deadline for Original Cosponsors is next Tuesday COB

From: The Committee on Education and Labor

Sent By: xxxx@mail.house.gov
Date: 1/30/2009

Be an Original Cosponsor of

The Employee Free Choice Act

Original Cosponsor Deadline is Tuesday, February 3, 2009!

January 29, 2009

Dear Colleague: