Anyone think that Sen. Tom Coburn sounds like he's been spending a little too much time paling around with Glenn Beck after listening to this interview with Neil Cavuto? And this is the guy that is continually painted as some "reasonable" Republican that is willing to work with Democrats in the Senate. Tom Coburn went into full assault mode against the National Labor Relations Board and their actions taken to prevent Boeing from retaliating against striking workers with a hyperbolic rant packed full of lies here.
More on why Coburn isn't telling the truth below the fold, but first, here's a rough transcript of the segment from this Wednesday's Your World With Neil Cavuto on Fox:
CAVUTO: Where does this end? What will this legislation do?
COBURN: Well, it puts NLRB back in the box that they were intended to be by Congress in the first place. What they've done is atrocious, both from a liberty stance point and from a bureaucratic standpoint and also from a capital standpoint. What they've said is that if you're a manufacturer and you're going to expand a manufacturing plant, you can't... you have to expand it where you are and you can't expand it into some place that's a better return on your capital with a more efficient labor force. I mean that's just absolutely asinine in a time when our country needs to be more efficient in our manufacturing.
So, they've way overstepped their bounds. I know why they've done that. It's at union requests and it's a political statement. It's political hardball. But it's stupid from a capital formation standpoint, from an efficiency standpoint and it basically violates the Constitution in terms of liberty and freedom.
You don't have the right to open a plant anywhere in this country you want if that's the best economic condition you can find opening that plant? I mean, that... that's just, you know, it's criminal.
CAVUTO: Where do they stand now with the NLRB? Do you know? What's the latest on that?
COBURN: Well, right now I guess there's a lawsuit undergoing...
COBURN: ...going against Boeing for that. If the courts uphold this massive expansion of the NLRB, it will be the same type of expansion we saw on healthcare by the president and his party in terms of the government controlling all aspects of healthcare. I would tell you that there's not much difference in this movement, you look at the healthcare bill and you look at this, you're talking about a near Socialist, Marxist state, where we're... the government's going to decide what plants will be built and where they'll be built.
CAVUTO: So... they're obviously going to be, given the Senate and their configuration right now, quite a few Senators who will disagree with that and your legislation probably won't go far in that body. Is it fair to say that you would look for this as a development with the next Congress, or what?
COBURN: Oh, you bet. This is... this is fundamental to the freedom of this country, but more important than that, there won't be any... think about what this is. You know, the president's running around trying to create jobs. There's not a bigger negative for building a plant in this country than NLRB telling you where you can do it.
So why build it here? Why not build it somewhere else where you don't have the government telling you what you can build and which employees you can hire and which you can't? I mean, think about the absolute change that this represents for our country in terms of the dictate that's coming from the NLRB on the basis of not anything in terms of experience and not anything based in law. Just pure hardball for the unions.
Media Matters' Political Correction debunked similar talking points from Eric Cantor in their post here -- Rep. Cantor Distorts EPA Regulations And NLRB Enforcement In Dishonest Op-Ed:
In a Washington Post op-ed, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) argues that President Obama's "anti-business, hyper-regulatory" agenda contributed to the downgrade in America's credit rating by stifling economic growth and exacerbating the debt problem. To support his case, Cantor cites three specific examples of allegedly regulation run amok: the Environmental Protection Agency's "Transport Rule," new standards for cement manufacturing, and the recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board to bring a case against Boeing's decision to move its plant to South Carolina from Washington state. Predictably, Cantor misleads on all three examples. Furthermore, Standard & Poor's based its downgrade decision largely on "political brinksmanship" by congressional Republicans, led by Cantor, who threatened to let the nation default on its debt. [...]
CLAIM: Rep. Cantor Claims "President's Silence" As NLRB "Seeks To Prevent Boeing From Opening A Plant" Contributed To Credit Downgrade
Rep. Cantor Claims That The NLRB Is Stopping Boeing From Opening A Plant In South Carolina. According to Rep. Cantor's op-ed in the Washington Post:
There is the president's silence as the National Labor Relations Board seeks to prevent Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina that would create thousands of jobs. Such behavior, coupled with the president's insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation's credit downgrade. [Washington Post, 8/21/11]
FACT: The NLRB Is Only Seeking To Ensure That Boeing Is Not Making Discriminatory Decisions
Boeing Allegedly Decided To Move Production To South Carolina To Retaliate Against Workers' Past Strikes And Avoid Future Strikes. According to the New York Times:
In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing's decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes. The agency's acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said it was illegal for companies to take actions in retaliation against workers for exercising the right to strike.
Although manufacturers have long moved plants to nonunion states, the board noted that Boeing officials had, in internal documents and news interviews, specifically cited the strikes and potential future strikes as a reason for their 2009 decision to expand in South Carolina. [New York Times, 4/20/11]
Labor Laws Prohibit Companies From Retaliating Against Workers For Striking. From Media Matters: "In a telephone interview with Media Matters, University of California-Irvine Chancellor's Professor of Law Catherine Fisk said that if the NLRB general counsel's complaint is true, this is an 'absolutely standard violation of Section 8(a)(1) [of the National Labor Relations Act], which has been in the statute since 1935 and prohibits retaliation against employees for protected activities' such as forming a union, engaging in collective bargaining, and striking. Fisk also said that she saw 'nothing controversial' about the complaint." [Media Matters, 5/14/11]
NLRB's Complaint "Does Not Seek To Have The South Carolina Facility Closed." According to the National Labor Relations Board: "Several news outlets have erroneously reported in recent days that the National Labor Relations Board has ordered the Boeing Company to close its operations in South Carolina. ... In fact, the complaint issued on April 20 by the Acting General Counsel does not seek to have the South Carolina facility closed. It seeks to halt the transfer of a specific piece of production work due to allegations that the transfer was unlawfully motivated. The complaint explicitly states that Boeing may place work where it likes, including at its South Carolina facility, as long as the decision is not made for discriminatory reasons." [NLRB.gov, 4/26/11, emphasis added]
NLRB Complaint "Does Not Seek To Prohibit" Boeing "From Making Non-Discriminatory Decisions With Respect To Where Work Will Be Performed." From the complaint filed by National Labor Relations Board against Boeing:
(a) As part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged above in paragraphs 7 and 8, the Acting General Counsel seeks an Order requiring Respondent to have the Unit operate its second line of 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly production in the State of Washington, utilizing supply lines maintained by the Unit in the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, area facilities.
(b) Other than as set forth in paragraph 13(a) above, the relief requested by the Acting General Counsel does not seek to prohibit Respondent from making non-discriminatory decisions with respect to where work will be performed, including non-discriminatory decisions with respect to work at its North Charleston, South Carolina, facility. [National Labor Relations Board Complaint and Notice of Hearing, 4/20/11, via Scribd.com]
WH Press Secretary: "We Do Not Get Involved In Particular Enforcement Matters Of Independent Agencies." According to a May 11, 2011, press briefing with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
Q Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, who chairs the President's Export Council, said the National Labor Relations Board suit against his company for building a plant in a right-to-work state is a fundamental assault on capitalism. I'm wondering is the President aware of the issue, and does he think the government should be involved in how businesses allocate capital or resources?
MR. CARNEY: Well, it's obviously been in the news, so we are aware of it, but I would refer any questions about it to the NLRB because it is an independent agency, and we do not get involved in particular enforcement matters of independent agencies.
Q The President has weighed in on outside issues before, though. I mean is this something -- it's also coming from someone who is chairing the Export Council, who's saying this is hurting job creation.
MR. CARNEY: I don't have a reaction to this from the President. And I think the fact that he's weighed in on outside issues doesn't mean that he will weigh in on an independent agency's enforcement action. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/11/11, emphasis added]
And here's more from The AFL-CIO Blog -- House Republicans Put Boeing Over Workers’ Rights in Bill to Cripple NLRB:
Without a hearing, House Republicans on the Education and Workforce Committee today rammed through a bill (H.R. 2587) that would cripple the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ability to protect workers from management retaliation for exercising their rights. The bill was passed on a 23-16 party-line vote.
The Republican bill, which ranking minority member Rep. George Miller (D) dubbed the “Eviscerate Workers’ Rights and Ship Jobs Overseas Bill,” is aimed the NLRB’s recent decision to file a complaint against the Boeing Co. The NLRB charges that Boeing moved production away from its Washington State facility in retaliation for the workers exercising their right to strike, and that’s against the law.
Says Miller: The legislation is nothing more than a rush to protect one special interest to the detriment of all American workers. This bill presents American workers with a choice: You can have your rights or you can have your job. But you can’t have both.
The bill will take away the NLRB’s authority to remedy unlawful conduct like Boeing is alleged to have engaged in. H.R. 2587 would apply to cases currently being considered, including the legal action against Boeing.
In a letter to the committee, AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director Bill Samuel says the bill would “cripple workers’ rights, hobble the NLRB, make it easier for companies to ship jobs overseas and create a new race to the bottom for American workers.” H.R. 2587 will take away the NLRB’s authority to restore workers to their jobs when companies simply eliminate work in order to eliminate workers who are pro-union or when companies eliminate work in order to avoid their legal obligation to bargain. [The bill] will have dire unintended consequences as well. It will make it easier to ship jobs overseas because it legalizes the most despicable form of outsourcing—the illegal kind—by keeping the NLRB from being able to stop it. The bill will remove one of the only tools preventing work from leaving the U.S.
Miller says the freedom to organize and collectively bargain is “meaningless if there is no effective remedy when they are violated.”
And finally here's more from Dahlia Lithwick on Darrell Issa's assault on the NLRB -- Dues Process: The GOP's war on the NLRB isn't just about airplanes and unions.:
There's a fine line between congressional oversight and congressional overreach, but I think it's safe to say that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has well and truly crossed it. His crusade against the National Labor Relations Board—a crusade that puts basic tenets of due process, judicial independence, and workers' rights at risk—makes sense only if you are a subscriber to the nihilist worldview that virtually all government agencies are corrupt, socialist minions of Obama.
Certainly, I can appreciate the charms of such a tidy and unifying theory of national government. But in this case, as well as in most others, it's a recipe for disaster for real Americans with real lives to think about.
Much more there so go read the rest. Sadly, we're not going to see Coburn ever come on television where someone's going to challenge him on any of his assertions. Instead, at Fox, it's just another day for them to to continue their all out assault on labor unions and the NLRB and promoting a race to the bottom for American workers with wages and labor protections.
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