The National Labor Relations Board (nlrb.gov) is a federal agency created to monitor and administer federal laws that govern the relationship between labor unions and business owners and corporations and to this board, Barack Obama has appointed as its chair a woman that does not seem to believe much in individual freedom but seems more interested in collectivism. To you and me that might be considered a communist ideal, but even if she doesn’t take it that far it is certainly an adversarial idea to individual freedom and the rights of business.
Last week, Obama named to the NLRB Wilma Liebman, a Philadelphian that has served on the legal staff of two labor unions: the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (1980-1989) and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen (1990-1993).
[A]n exclusive orientation toward an individual-rights regime could have troubling political and social consequences. Workers may view the employment relationship in purely individual terms and may fail to grasp common economic interests and the potential of collective action at work, as well as in the public sphere. Collective action at work encourages engagement in the community and in politics. Without a functioning collective bargaining system, fundamental economic issues are placed off the table: distribution of wealth, control, and direction of economic enterprises. What institution will be as effective in efforts to minimize the randomness of fortune of democratic capitalism? And without a strong independent trade union movement, what institution will stand effectively as a counterweight in our democracy to the growing political influence of corporations? What institution will speak for working people–indeed for the middle class–as effectively?
It is glaringly obvious that Liebman does not think the individual worker is smart enough to be able to deal with his employers. And, worse, it seems that Liebman has no intention of allowing the worker to even have the chance to experience that freedom of individual choice but is rather more interested in supplanting such messy freedoms with total collectivism.
This seems to point to an NLRB chair that will advocate for the side of labor no matter what else is going on, doesn’t it? How can a person that is so blatantly biased in favor of big labor be expected to run an unbiased watchdog agency that is supposed to fairly deal with both sides?
Will Liebman be able to set aside her past activism and close associations with big labor to administer the federal agency to which she has been assigned?
I don’t see how she could, myself.