Monday, September 7, 2009

Obama and Coercive Unionism

Another thought for Labor Day: In an excellent posting at National Review Online, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee reminds us of the alliance between organized labor bosses and the Obama administration, especially as it relates to union strong-arming and card check legislation:
Repeatedly pledging to Big Labor that he will sign a bill that eliminates the secret ballot in union elections, President Obama is the top cheerleader for a policy that would effectively destroy the ability of workers to make real choices in the workplace. Obama would allow outside union organizers to bypass the secret ballot and instead collect workers’ signed “authorization cards” to determine unionization. It doesn’t take much imagination to grasp the potential for abuse inherent in any “card check” drive, since workers would be subjected to immense face-to-face pressure from intimidating union organizers....
Why is Obama so comfortable with this coercive approach to workplace organizing? Perhaps because his political career was launched under similar circumstances. Few remember it now, but Obama’s electoral debut came in 1996, when he won a seat in the Illinois state legislature. “Won” is a bit of a misnomer, however, as candidate Obama ruthlessly eliminated his opponents by disqualifying signatures collected for ballot eligibility. As former National Review political reporter David Freddoso detailed in his 2008 book on Obama, voters’ signatures were thrown out for a variety of spurious reasons, including one woman’s failure to list her married name instead of her maiden name. Other voters were struck from the lists for printing instead of signing their names on the eligibility petitions. Obama not only had his main opponent disqualified, he also succeeded in forcing a protest candidate off the ballot. Obama has personally admitted he felt “uncomfortable” with this hardball political tactic, but success has evidently allayed any guilt. After his opponents were disqualified, Obama won a seat in the state legislature by default.
Just as candidate Obama was willing to go to great lengths to eliminate political opponents to gain a state senate seat, President Obama appears eager to eliminate any semblance of protection for workers in order to curry favor with union bosses. In 2008, Big Labor gave more than $1 billion in campaign contributions to candidates such as Obama who pledged their loyalty to forced unionism.

DHS Targets Well Intentioned Employers, Lets Scofflaws Off The Hook

A Labor Day Thought: Writing at, July Myers Wood (the former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) says that U.S. Department of Homeland Security has its priorities backwards when it comes to the E-Verify program and the problem of bogus Social Security numbers:
In tough economic times, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should focus on ensuring a level playing field for honest businesses, and regulating unscrupulous firms who use illegal workers to cut costs and gain a competitive advantage. Clearly, the federal government should focus its enforcement efforts on the first company and not the second. It would be consistent with general beliefs of fairness and justice.
Unfortunately, if last week's federal register announcement of "dropping the no-match rule" is any indication, the DHS is squarely aiming its efforts on employers who are trying to do the right thing. By ignoring a critical tool that can help agents target employers and instead augmenting the monitoring and compliance of E-Verify users, as announced in May, the administration has turned our sense of fairness and justice upside down.
 Of course, DHS' intent to formally revoke the no-match rule is not a big surprise. Earlier this summer, the administration slipped this announcement in with its very positive announcement that it is mandating E-Verify for federal contractors. But while DHS claims that they are dropping the no-match rule as part of their push to do "smarter" worksite enforcement, the evidence suggests that they are also leaving some critical tools for targeting the most egregious employers back in the toolbox. Not only are they discarding the safe harbor rule, but DHS has declared that they will no longer be looking at no-match letters as part of enforcement actions. DHS said as much in Wednesday's announcement declaring, "DHS has determined that focusing on the management practices of employers would be more efficacious than focusing on a single element of evidence within the totality of the circumstances."
This is a mistake. ICE agents and federal prosecutors have routinely used no-match letters as part of an overall strategy to target egregious employers. How an employer handles no-match letters, or rather how they don't, can often provide significant insight into an employer's overall compliance strategy, and useful evidence to support a criminal indictment.
Meanwhile, as reported by FederalComputerWeek, federal contractors must comply with E-Verify rule effective September 8, but the authorization for E-Verify by Congress is scheduled to expire Sept. 30 under a so-called sunset provision unless lawmakers vote to extend the requirement.

In connection with E-Verify in Ohio along with the big picture of federal preemption under the Constitution, former DHS official Matt A. Mayer, now of the Heritage Foundation writes that:
Although the E-Verify system is not a panacea, it is a relatively inexpensive ($100 or less per employer), efficient (an inquiry takes 15 seconds or less), and reliable (96 percent) online method of ensuring that Ohio jobs are filled only by Ohioans and those who are lawfully present. With Ohio's unemployment rate at 10.8 percent and increasing, such a law would provide much-needed job opportunities for those out-of-work Ohioans at both the unskilled and skilled lev­els. Specifically, many entry-level jobs currently filled by illegal border crossers (who make up 60 percent of all illegals) and some technical-level jobs currently filled by individuals who have overstayed their work or education visas (40 percent of all ille­gals) would become open as those holding the jobs illegally were let go...
For state and local governments to truly tackle their illegal immigration problems, they must take a more aggressive approach than simply relying on the federal government to do its duty and federalize a handful of state or local officers each year. There are many additional actions that state and local gov­ernments can take. Critically, state and local govern­ment action should "remove or reduce the economic incentives for unlawful presence."