[Ed. – And hey, POTUS has a pen and a phone!]
Richard Griffin, the new general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, wants to give unions a veto over a unionized employer’s decision to relocate. If Griffin has his way, and he most assuredly will, some unionized businesses will be pinned in place at the discretion of their unions.
The change Griffin is contemplating is unnecessary and inconsistent with both the law and the dynamics of our free-enterprise system. It will upset the balance mandated by the Supreme Court and should send a chill up the spine of unionized companies contemplating relocating an operation.
Griffin’s intent was disclosed in a memorandum he sent the agency’s regional directors ordering them not to act on cases presenting issues “of concern” to him — and there were many such issues — without receiving guidance from his office. Griffin’s guidance will be to order an employer to be prosecuted not on the basis of what the law is but on the law as Griffin would like it to be. This will give the board an opportunity to change the law (though the change will be prospective — the employer who is prosecuted will not be punished for violating the new rule).
Under current law, it is perfectly legal for a unionized employer to relocate some or all of its facilities and eliminate bargaining-unit work if the move is motivated by economic gain — not by a desire to retaliate against employees for their union activities and support. A desire to escape the consequences of unionization, particularly high labor costs, is considered an independent, innocent motivation, not an unlawful one. Big Labor loathes this law; Griffin intends to help unions nullify it.