This was a banner year in the right-wing media's campaign to belittle working Americans. In the early part of the year, media conservatives promoted anti-union laws in Wisconsin and Ohio, transitioned to attacking the National Labor Relations Board, and spent the entirety of the year demonizing union workers, low-income Americans, and the unemployed.
Right-Wing Media React To WI Protests Over Collective Bargaining: Insults, False Attacks, Misinformation
Fox & Friends Falsely Claimed "Violent" WI Protesters "Attack[ed]" Grothman
Kilmeade: Protesters Got "Restless And, Dare I Say, Violent." On the March 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a segment on a Republican Wisconsin lawmaker, Sen. Glenn Grothman, being heckled by a chanting crowd of protesters by falsely claiming the protesters were "getting restless and, dare I say, violent." Co-host Steve Doocy claimed that, "If you put yourself in [Grothman's] shoes...it's absolutely scary." Doocy later claimed, "When you look at that and all the incivility there, you realize that to these people, elections have no consequence, mean nothing." During the segment, the on-screen graphics repeatedly referred to the "angry" protesters as "violent" or "attack[ing]" Grothman. From Fox & Friends:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]
Kilmeade: "A Mob Of Protesters Ambush A Republican State Senator In Wisconsin." Teasing an upcoming segment with Grothman, Kilmeade claimed "a mob of protesters ambush[ed]" Grothman "who wants to go to work." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]
Kilmeade Again Claims Grothman Was "Ambushed By A Mob Of Protesters." Later in the show, Kilmeade again teased Grothman's segment by claiming he was "ambushed by a mob of protesters." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]
Doocy, Grothman Continue To Portray Protesters As Violent. Later on Fox & Friends, Doocy introduced a segment with Grothman by claiming he was "chased by a mob of protesters outside the capitol building." Doocy first asked Grothman, "Where was your security?" and later, "Were you scared?" Later in the segment, Doocy claimed, "There is a double standard. If Republicans surrounded a democrat lawmaker and did stuff like this, do you think it would be a big story?" Doocy ended the interview by asking Grothman if he is "going to have security if [he] need[s] it" and telling Grothman to "stay safe." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]
In Fact, There Was No Evidence Of Violence On The Video
Twelve-Minute Long Video Shows No Violence Occurred. The video, which was shot by Wisconsin area photographer Phil Ejercito, show that Grothman was heckled by protesters, but no violence occurred. In fact, at one point during the video, a protester can be heard to shout "don't touch him" and at another, the protesters chanted "peace" and "peaceful." [YouTube, 03/01/11]
Grothman Himself Claimed "He Didn't Think He Was Ever In Any Real Danger." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that, Grothman "told the [Cap Times] he didn't think he was ever in any real danger." From the Journal Sentinel:
Grothman downplayed the situation and told the paper he didn't think he was ever in any real danger.
"I really think if I had had to, I could have walked through the crowd and it would have been okay," he told the Cap Times. "They're loud, they'll give you the finger, and they yell at you, but I really think deep down inside they're just mostly college kids having fun, just like they're having fun sleeping with their girfriends on air mattresses. That's the guts of that crowd." [Journal Sentinel, 03/02/11]
Grothman Called Protesters "Good People" And Noted That He Was Not Scared. During his interview on Fox & Friends, Doocy asked Grothman if he was scared by the protesters. Grothman responded "Not really, because I think most people are basically good people. I mean, they've been running around the capitol for over a week now, chanting, blowing their horns, pounding their drums." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 03/03/11]
Photographer Slammed Fox's Coverage As "Establish[ing] A Fictional Narrative"
Photographer Phil Ejercito: I condemn the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison. In a statement to Media Matters, Phil Ejercito, the local photographer who shot the footage of Sen. Grothman being heckled by the crowd, said he "condemn[ed] the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison," calling it a "a genuinely dangerous narrative that Fox News is helping to create." From Ejercito's statement to Media Matters:
It sickens me to see the truth so willfully distorted. In deciding to release this video, I considered how it would be used, but I (perhaps naively) believed that the facts in the video would speak for itself - the people of Wisconsin are angry, Senator Grothman got a well-deserved ribbing, the Walker administration's lockdown of the Capitol is misguided, and Representative Hulsey acted honorably. It is simply astounding that the same faction of the right-wing that would claim that torture in Abu Ghraib was "fraternity hazing" would equate heckling as a "violent attack."
Let there be no ambiguity: I condemn the use of my work to distort the truth about the spirited but non-violent protests here in Madison. I believe that this is a genuinely dangerous narrative that Fox News is helping to create... I am deeply disturbed to consider that my work is being misused to establish a fictional narrative of violence by the working families of Wisconsin, and I encourage people to watch the entire clip on YouTube for themselves to understand the full context and decide for themselves what truthfully took place. [Media Matters, 03/04/11]
Fox Repeatedly Concealed Key Details About Guests Criticizing Wisconsin Protesters
Fox Bills GOP Senate Candidate, Local GOP Officeholder As Concerned Parents. Fox News hosted Dave Westlake and Amber Hahn, who were both identified as "Wisconsin parent[s]." Fox did not disclose that Westlake was a 2010 Republican Senate candidate and Han was the treasurer for the Columbia County, Wisconsin, Republican Party. [Media Matters, 3/1/11]
Fox Suggests CEO Of Multinational Company Represents "Small Businesses." Fox hosted Gary Reynolds, CEO of GMR Marketing to criticize protesters for "attacking small businesses who supported and support Governor Scott Walker," in the words of Fox co-host Brian Kilmeade. However, GMR Marketing says it has 24 offices in 12 countries and that it is "the world's largest engagement marketing agency." The company lists Sony, Microsoft, Bank of America and Visa among its clients. [Media Matters, 3/1/11]
Fox News Forced To Air "Fox Lies" Protests
Protesters Shout "Fox Lies" During Live Report From WI Capitol. On the February 18 edition of Your World, protesters chanted "Fox lies" during correspondent Jeff Flock's live report on the labor protests from the Wisconsin Capitol building. During the segment, guest host Chris Cotter stated, "Well, I'll tell you, Jeff, those folks protesting Fox -- I'm wondering if they would prefer a state-run television network providing all the coverage." [Fox News, Your World, 2/18/11]
Protesters Chant "Tell The Truth" During Live Segment From Madison, WI. On the February 21 edition of The Fox Report, labor protesters chanted "tell the truth" throughout correspondent Mike Tobin's live report on the protests from Madison, WI. [Fox News, The Fox Report, 2/21/11]
Protesters Interrupt Live Fox Interview With Chants Of "Tell The Truth." On the February 21 edition of Your World, labor protesters in Madison interrupted guest host Stuart Varney's live interview with Brett Healy of the conservative MacIver Institute. Varney later interviewed Healy via telephone while footage of a protester holding a sign saying, "Fox News will lie about this," aired:
[Fox News, Your World, 2/21/11]
Fox Aired "Fox News Lies" Protest Sign. During a report by Mike Tobin on the February 21 edition of Special Report, a protester held a sign stating, "Fox News lies!":
[Fox News, Special Report, 2/21/11]
Fox Falsely Claimed WI Gov. Walker Is "Actually Doing What He Campaigned On"
Gingrich: Walker Is "Actually Doing What He Campaigned On." During the February 24 edition of On the Record, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich said:
VAN SUSTEREN: Is Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker doing right thing or not? His budget plan is rattling unions and sent Democrats running across state lines to Illinois as protesters continue to swarm Madison and seize the state capitol building. Now, everyone is asking, Did the governor make the right move? Many states across America are broke. So should other states follow the Wisconsin governor's lead, or try something else?
Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joins us. He and his wife, Callista, are authors of the new book "Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous With Destiny."
Good evening, Mr. Speaker. And I know you've written an op-ed piece in support of Governor Walker. But I'm just curious. What should he be doing tonight? Because tomorrow's supposedly a drop-dead date on this bonding, and the Democrats say they're not coming home.
NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), FMR. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think he should do whatever he has to technically to pay for the bonding and blame the Democrats for the carnage that that's going to cause. They are forcing this crisis. You got to make sure they own the responsibility.
But you have to put Scott Walker in context. After having been elected three times as county executive of the largest government in the state, Milwaukee County, he campaigned for a year-and-a-half on a very clear program. Nothing he's doing is new. Everything he's doing was in his platform. It's what the people voted on.
The amazing thing is the Republicans gained seats in the senate, gained seats in the house. There are no new elected freshmen Democrats. The governor himself won decisively. And the Democrats, having lost the argument with the people -- this is not Republican-Democrat. The people of Wisconsin elected a 60 percent Republican majority in the house, a virtually 60 percent Republican majority in the senate and a Republican governor. And the governor's now executing -- this seems to be a shock to Democrats. He's actually doing what he campaigned on.
The contrast with President Obama breaking his word this week is startling. I mean, Scott Walker is doing what he said he would do. [Fox News, On the Record, 2/24/11, accessed via Nexis]
Doocy: "The Governor Ran On The Platform That He Was Going To Address Collective Bargaining." On Fox & Friends, Doocy claimed that "to [the Wisconsin protesters], elections have no consequence. Mean nothing. Keep in mind, in that state, the governor ran on the platform that he was going to address collective bargaining and all the other stuff and that's what he did. And yet, look at what's happening there right now." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]
Doocy Again Falsely Claims Walker "Made It Very Clear" That Collective Bargaining Was "One Of the Things He Was Going To Address." Later on Fox & Friends, during an interview with Grothman, Doocy claimed that "all these people with the signs, the horns, the whistles, apparently they weren't paying attention to the fact that there was an election this past November and the message in the fact that Scott Walker became the governor, he had made it very clear, this is one of the things he was going to address. Collective bargaining. And the unions." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11, via Media Matters]
Asman: Walker "Did Announce When He Was Running For Governor This Is What He Was Going To Do." During the February 25 edition of America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman said:
ASMAN: The bill strips most public sector unions of collective bargain or at least some of their collective bargaining privileges. Democrats and their supporters yelling "Shame" as you can hear after the vote as Republicans walked out. Now Democrats are investigating whether the vote was legal. The bill goes to the Senate where Democrats have gone AWOL. So how is all of this going to get resolved, Lee?
LEE HAWKINS, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I don't know, but I think this is indicative of what we're going to see in the future. He's from that young new faction of the Republican base that's been dying to have this ideological debate with the unions probably since he was a teenager watching Ronald Reagan on television.
And he campaigned on the deficit issue. So basically he's actually following through on what he campaigned on, and what he is going to happen as we're going to see a fierce debate on this and many others.
ASMAN: I'm glad you brought that up because he did announce when he was running for governor this is what he was going to do. No surprises. And Mitch Daniels did the same thing in Indiana. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 2/25/11, accessed via Nexis]
PolitiFact: Walker Did Not Campaign On Proposal To "Sharply Curb Collective Bargaining Rights"
PolitiFact: Walker Did Not "'Campaign On' His Union Bargaining Plan." On February 22, PolitiFact Wisconsin gave a "false" rating to the claim that Walker campaigned on the proposal to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights:
In the turbulent wake of his controversial plan to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has faced criticism that he gave no warning of such a dramatic plan during the long 2010 governor's race.
Walker has forcefully challenged that contention, most bluntly at a Feb. 21, 2011 news conference. A reporter asked if the move to limit union power was payback for pro-union moves made by Democrats in the past.
"It's not a tit for tat," Walker responded. "The simple matter is I campaigned on this all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years."
Let's sum up our research.
Walker contends he clearly "campaigned on" his union bargaining plan.
But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.
While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.
We rate his statement False. [PolitiFact Wisconsin, 2/22/11]
Fox Apologized For Reversing Results Of Poll: "61 Percent" Of Americans Were NOT "In Favor Of Taking [Bargaining Rights] Away"
Kilmeade: According To USA Today/Gallup Poll, "61 Percent In Favor Of Taking [Bargaining Rights] Away." On the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade discussed the results of a recent USA Today/Gallup poll to falsely claim that "61 percent" of those polled are "in favor of taking [collective bargaining rights] away." From the broadcast:
KILMEADE: Wow. But is President Obama out of step with history? Joining us now to debate it, knock it around just a little bit, Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman and Jim Glassman, Director of the Bush Center and author of the book Safety Net. First things first, Robert, do you think the president is taking a big risk here?
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Not at all. I think he's showing respect for history and respect for our history of supporting the rights and safety of workers, but more than that, he's speaking for the mainstream of our country and the main stream of Republican governors that are not siding with Governor Walker in his efforts to overturn right to work -- collective bargaining.
KILMEADE: I think Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view. And here is the question that was posed, should you take away--will you favor or are you in disfavor of taking away collective bargaining when it comes to salaries for government workers? Sixty-one percent in favor of taking it away. Thirty-three percent oppose. Six percent up in the air. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/23/11]
A graphic claiming that "61 percent" responded "favor" to the question "Collective bargaining -- take it away: favor or oppose?" was aired on-screen during the segment:
Fox Issued An On-Air Correction For Reversing The Results Of The Poll. Kilmeade issued a correction during the final minute of Fox & Friends -- 44 minutes after the error -- saying: "I want to correct a poll that we did about 22 minutes ago from Gallup. Sixty-one percent oppose taking collective bargaining away from those people in Wisconsin; 33 percent in favor. I had it reversed. I apologize." In fact, the poll asked if people would oppose a similar law in their own states. This graphic accompanied the apology:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/23/11]
USA Today/Gallup Poll Found "61% Would Oppose A Law Similar To [The] Proposal In Wisconsin"
USA Today/Gallup: "61% Would Oppose A Law In Their State Similar To [The] Proposal In Wisconsin." In the poll conducted on February 21, USA Today and Gallup found that 61 percent of those polled would oppose a law similar to the one Gov. Walker is proposing in Wisconsin. From the article accompanying the poll results (emphasis added):
Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators in Wisconsin have proposed cutting union rights for most state government workers and making them pay more for benefits. Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa and other states with Republican governors are considering similar laws. [USA Today, 2/22/11]
The article included the following graphic:
Fox Used Dubious Rasmussen Poll To Claim Public Backs Walker, Not Unions
Hannity: "The People Support The Governor." Citing the Rasmussen poll during the February 22 broadcast of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity revealed the results of a show poll on whether his viewers supported Walker or the unions:
HANNITY: That was tremendous. All right, now, we did this poll, it's time to reveal the results of tomorrow's big question tonight. We asked you about Wisconsin's budget woes and we wanted to know who's side you were on, 94 percent side with Governor Walker. The union's got 6 percent of the vote and zero percent of you are still undecided.
We have a very -- there are a lot of equivocation out there. It fits with Rasmussen's poll. The people support the governor. We had this guy on tonight saying no -- they are out of touch. What do you think the unions are missing here in this debate? [Fox News, Hannity, 2/22/11, accessed via Nexis]
O'Reilly Uses Rasmussen Poll To Discredit Gallup Poll. During the February 23 edition of his Fox News program, Bill O'Reilly cited the Rasmussen poll in order to discredit a Gallup poll on the same topic:
O'REILLY: But "The New York Times" continues to spin the Wisconsin situation in favor of the union and other media are doing the same thing. A new Gallup poll out today says that most Americans do not want unions to be destroyed. Dick Morris will react to that in just a few moments. However, a Rasmussen Poll released earlier this week says that most Americans who have an opinion side with Governor Walker in his quest to diminish union power. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/23/11, accessed via Nexis]
Polling Experts Say Rasmussen's Poll "Biased Responses"
Silver: "Because Of The Problems With Question Design ... Disregard The Rasmussen Reports Poll." Polling expert Nate Silver analyzed the Rasmussen poll and concluded that "[t]he poll, which included people that Rasmussen deemed to be 'likely voters' from across the country, found that 48 percent of respondents agreed more with Mr. Walker in the dispute, while 38 percent agreed more with 'the union for teachers and other state employees.' That question, though, was the fourth one Rasmussen asked in the survey -- and the questions that came before it may have biased the responses." Silver explained:
The issue is clearest with the third question, which asked respondents whether "teachers, firemen and policemen" should be allowed to go on strike. By invoking the prospect of such strikes, which are illegal in many places (especially for the uniformed services) and which many people quite naturally object to, the poll could potentially engender a less sympathetic reaction toward the protesters in Wisconsin. It is widely recognized in the scholarship on the subject, and I have noted before, that earlier questions in a survey can bias the response to later ones by framing an issue in a particular way and by casting one side of the argument in a less favorable light.
The Rasmussen example is more blatant than most. While many teachers have been among the protesters at the State Capitol in Madison, obliging the city to close its schools for days, there have been no reports of reductions in police or fire services, and in fact, uniformed services are specifically exempted from the proposals that the teachers and other public-sector employees are protesting. So bringing in the uniformed services essentially makes No. 3 a talking point posed as a question.
The second question in the Rasmussen poll found that 36 percent of respondents believe that public-sector employees earn more than private-sector workers in their state, while 21 percent thought public sector workers earned less, and 20 percent thought they earned about the same amount.
In fact, according to an analysis by USA Today, state employees earn about 5 percent less than comparable employees in the private sector, on average, although federal employees receive significantly (20 percent) more.
A poll is not a pop quiz, and the respondents in the survey are not to blame for giving the "wrong" response. Also, the question posed by Rasmussen, which did not consider the type of work performed and asked simply about average salaries in the respondent's home state, was not exactly the same as the one studied by USA Today, which covered the whole country and took account of the type of work done. Still, to the extent that this misperception about pay levels is widely held and casts public employees in a less favorable light, a survey question that reminds respondents of it could bias responses to later questions.
Because of the problems with question design, my advice would be simply to disregard the Rasmussen Reports poll, and to view their work with extreme skepticism going forward. [The New York Times, 2/21/11]
Blumenthal: "Rasmussen's Results Raise More Questions Than They Answer." Pollster Mark Blumenthal's analysis of Rasmussen's poll similarly argued that the order in which the questions were asked of respondents could have biased the response. He further argued: "The more typical approach would involve asking a more general version of question one ('how closely have you been following the dispute between the Governor of Wisconsin and the public employee unions in Wisconsin?') and then go immediately to something like question four." [The Huffington Post, 2/21/11]
Other Polls Showed Widespread Support For Collective Bargaining Rights
NYT/CBS Poll Shows Overwhelming Support For Public Worker Bargaining Rights. In the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, results show that "Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them." [The New York Times, 2/28/11]
USA Today/Gallup Poll Shows Majority Support For Union Workers. In a USA Today/Gallup Poll from February 22, results show that while Republicans supported limiting the rights of union workers by a 54 percent to 41 percent margin, 79 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents polled were against the limitation of union bargaining rights, representing the majority of total persons polled. As USA Today reported, overall, "[t]he poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law." [USA Today, 2/22/11]
Right-Wing Media Hurled Insults, Attacks At Union Supporters
Fox's Dr. Ablow: WI Protesters Are "Parasitic And Need To Be Identified As Such. ... I'm Speaking Like A Scientist." On the June 15 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, Dr. Keith Ablow called the Wisconsin protesters "parasitic." [Media Matters, 6/15/11]
Limbaugh: Wisconsin Protesters Are "Long-Haired, Maggot-Infested Michael Moore Fan[s]." During the March 10 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated: "Every hard working American family I know is led by a long-haired, maggot-infested Michael Moore fan bussed in from out of state to raise holy Hell, shutting down the Wisconsin state Capitol building chanting 'this is what democracy looks like.'" [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/10/11]
Red State: Protesters Are A "Union Mob" Of "Criminals" And "Thugs." In a March 10 Red State post, Ben Howe called union protesters a "union mob" and referred to them as a "band of criminals and thugs." From the post:
[C]onservatives believe in protest as well as the rule of law. And when we don't get our way, we win at the polls, not at the end of a stick.
This crowd is downright frightening as they surround and harass this reporter for doing nothing more than turning his camera on. I suppose they can be forgiven for calling him a NARC since "Riot Control" is in the name and that's clearly what is needed to calm down this band of criminals and thugs.
Thank God their desire to vandalize the Capitol overcame their desire to bully a stranger. [Red State, 3/10/11]
Hoft: "Angry Leftist Mob Storms WI Capitol Pushing-Shoving Screaming 'Peaceful Protest.'" In a March 10 post to his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft mocked the "peaceful protest" language used to identify the union protesters in Wisconsin, labeling them an "angry leftist mob," and "raging leftists." [Gateway Pundit, 3/10/11]
Hoft Warns: "Look Out - The Thugs Are Coming." In a March 10 post, Hoft warned: "Look Out - The Thugs Are Coming... SEIU to Hold Mass Rallies Today in Wisconsin." Hoft further wrote: "Be warned. Be careful." [Gateway Pundit, 3/10/11]
Fox Nation Calls Protesters "Rabid Leftists." In a March 9 post, Fox Nation described Wisconsin protesters as "Rabid Leftists." [Media Matters, 3/9/11]
Fox Nation: "Warning, Frothing Radicals Running Wild." On its Twitter page, Fox Nation promoted its March 9 post calling protesters "Rabid Leftists" by stating, "Warning, Frothing Radicals Running Wild." [Media Matters, 3/9/11]
Fox Nation Calls Protesters A "Shrieking Leftist Mob." A March 8 Fox Nation headline referring to pro-union protesters at a GOP-hosted town hall event stated, "Shrieking Leftist Mob Shuts Down Town Hall Meeting in Wisconsin." [Media Matters, 3/8/11]
Hoft: "Leftist Bullies" "Jeer Ohio Governor Kasich." In a March 8 post titled, "Predictable. Angry Leftists Jeer Ohio Governor Kasich During State Of State Address," Hoft wrote: "Most of the leftist bullies were forced to stand outside the Chamber Door today during Ohio Governor John Kasich's State of the State Address. However, at least one shrieking protester interrupted the republican governor during his speech today." [Gateway Pundit, 3/8/11]
Limbaugh Tells Home Invasion Story As A "Metaphor" For Dispute Over Union Rights In WI And Elsewhere. On the March 8 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh told a detailed home invasion story and compared it to the conflict in Wisconsin over union rights. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/8/11]
Kilmeade Calls Protesters "Violent." On the March 3 edition of Fox news' Fox & Friends, Kilmeade referred to the protesters as "violent" as the on-screen text called them "angry union mob." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11]
Hannity Calls WI Protesters "An Angry Wisconsin Mob." On the March 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity referred to the protesters as "an angry Wisconsin mob" when teasing an upcoming segment. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/2/11]
Limbaugh Linked WI Protests To "What Gadhafi Is Doing." On the March 2 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh linked comments made by Robert Reich and the Wisconsin protests to "what Gaddafi is doing." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/2/11]
Limbaugh: "Either The ... Country Will Go Bankrupt And Collapse Into Total Economic Anarchy, Or The Protesters Will Lose." On the February 18 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh claimed that the "unionistas" had "as much chance of winning in the long run as did the protesters in Greece or Spain." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/18/11]
Malkin: Protesters Engaging In "Thuggery." On the February 17 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin attacked the protesters, saying, "If this brave Republican governor can stand up to the immense amount of power and thuggery, essentially, by these unions, it bodes very well for other states." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/17/11]
Napolitano Calls Wisconsin Protests "Union Temper Tantrums." On the February 17 edition his Fox Business show Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano said, "This is the second day in a row union temper tantrums have ... deprived Wisconsin kids of their education." [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 2/17/11]
Beck Sees "The Beginning Of The American Insurrection" In Wisconsin Protests. On the March 17 edition of his radio program, Beck claimed that the protesters were "calling for Egypt-style protests on the street." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/17/11]
Beck To Union Members: "Your Unions Are Anti-Western Way Of Life." On the February 16 edition of his radio show, Beck "beg[ged]" union members to "decide," saying "your unions are killing us." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/16/11]
Beck Cites Wisconsin Protests To Claim That "Evil [Is] Spreading Around The Globe." Glenn Beck claimed that protests in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as in the Middle East and Mexico are part of "evil spreading around the globe." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/16/11]
Right-Wing Media Pushed Misleading Stat That WI Public Employees Make More Than Private Workers
Wash. Examiner: "Total Compensation Costs Of State And Local Government Workers Was 44 Percent Higher Than Private Industry." A February 21 op-ed in The Washington Examiner claimed that "state and local government workers" were paid "44 percent" more than private sector employees in 2010. The op-ed, titled, "There is no right to collective bargaining," was written by David Denholm, president of the anti-union Public Service Research Foundation. From the op-ed:
We might resent that [government is sovereign] when it comes to things like taxes but we need it when it comes to things like murder and mayhem. A sovereign institution might choose to seek input from interested parties about a decision, but when the decision is made, it is the law.
How different this is from a typical public-sector bargaining situation where the union makes demands and those demands are backed up by the threat -- whether legal or illegal -- of a strike.
There is a consequence to this distortion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010, the total compensation costs of state and local government workers was 44 percent higher than private industry; pay was only 33 percent higher but benefits cost 70 percent more. [The Washington Examiner, 2/21/11]
Kelly Claims There Is "Quite A Gap" Between "Salaries Of Public And Private Sector Employees" In WI. During the February 21 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly followed live coverage of the ongoing protests at the statehouse in Madison by saying, "A closer look at the salaries of public and private sector employees in Wisconsin reveals quite a gap." A graphic showing "average annual pay" in Wisconsin in 2009 was then aired:
After reading the graphic, Kelly said: "What a difference. It used to be if you went to work for the state government, you would make less, but it was worth it, because you would have good benefits, good health care, nice fat pension, that kind of thing. So your salary would be lower. You can see from that full-screen we just showed you, that graphic, that that's no longer the case." [Fox News, America Live, 2/21/11, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh Repeats Discredited Claim That Public Employees Nationwide Make "Twice" As Much As Private Workers. On the February 17 edition his Premiere Radio Networks radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed: "Taxpayers are paying public sector unions twice, on average, what the American employee earns. Pensions, welfare, benefits, the health care -- all of that stuff. Twice. Wages, salary, you name it." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/17/11]
Huckabee: "Public Union Workers [Make] 30 Percent Better Wages [And] 70 Percent Better Benefits Than Their Private Sector Counterparts." Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee claimed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to end collective bargaining power for public sector unions is important because "he's having to balance the budget." As evidence, Huckabee falsely claimed public union workers make "30 percent better wages" and "70 percent better benefits than their private sector counterparts." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/25/11]
Carlson: Public Sector Workers "Make More Than You Do" And "Won't Even Consider Taking Any Kind Of Cut." Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson said:
Here's, in my view, the politically effective and the true argument. They make more than you do, right, these public sector employees, they can never be fired, their benefits are things you can't even imagine, and by the way, they won't even consider taking any kind of cut in the face of the worst recession in our lifetimes and they expect you to pay for it. You can win that case. [Fox News, Special Report, 3/9/11]
FACT: EPI Found That "Wisconsin Public Employees Earn 4.8% Less In Total Compensation Per Hour Than Comparable Full-Time Employees In Wisconsin's Private Sector." A study published February 10, 2011, by the think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that when "[c]omparisons controlling for education, experience," and other factors are taken into account, "Wisconsin public employees earn 4.8% less in total compensation per hour than comparable full-time employees in Wisconsin's private sector." [EPI, "Are Wisconsin Public Employees Over-compensated?" 2/10/11]
The EPI report also included a graphic showing the average compensation for public and private sector employees in Wisconsin by education:
The February 18, 2011, EPI post accompanying this graphic stated:
The campaign against state and local workers is often justified with claims that they are privileged relative to their private-sector peers or have somehow been cushioned from the effects of the recent recession and slow recovery. These claims are clearly false.
In Wisconsin, which has become a focal point in this debate, public servants already take a pretty hefty pay cut just for the opportunity to serve their communities (Keefe 2010). The figure below shows that when comparing the total compensation (which includes non-wage benefits such as health care and pensions) of workers with similar education, public-sector workers consistently make less than their private-sector peers. Workers with a bachelor's degree or more--which constitute nearly 60% of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin--are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor's degree) to over $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine). [EPI, 2/18/11]
Fox Falsely Blamed Public Unions For WI Budget Shortfall
Kilmeade States That WI Faces Budget Shortfall Of "Over $100 Million" And That Walker Wants To "Close That Gap" By "Revisit[ing] The Public Employee Deals." Brian Kilmeade stated:
Wisconsin is a state like many states in this country that has a bit of a budget deficit, the tune of over $100 million. So one way in which new Gov. Scott Walker wants to close that gap is to go revisit the public employee deals, government worker deals that have been cut between union workers and the state government. So, why not put that forward? Why not have them pay into their pensions? Why not have them pay into their retirement health care, because we, together, have to balance the budget, and the people have spoken out in November. They want Republicans to do the cutting. And that was the easy part. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/18/11]
Kilmeade: Walker "Can't Balance The Budget Unless He Gets These Contracts In Line." Later on Fox & Friends, Kilmeade asserted that Walker "can't balance the budget unless he gets these contracts in line." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/18/11]
O'Reilly: "Wisconsin Has A $3.6 Billion Shortfall Through 2013 And Simply Cannot Afford To Pay Its Bills ... And Public Workers Are The First Ones To Take The Hit." Bill O'Reilly stated:
O'REILLY: Well, the state of Wisconsin has a $3.6 billion- short fall through 2013 and simply cannot afford to pay its bills. This is happening in many states and public workers are the first ones to take the hit. Obviously that's not going over well in Wisconsin.
O'REILLY: But if state workers will not give back some of their benefits, there is no solution to the fiscal crisis anywhere. You can't raise taxes anymore. The folks are tapped out, right?
Where I live on Long Island some elderly people are actually selling their homes because they can't sell the high property tax rate. The solution in bankrupt states is where these two agree to some kind of give back perhaps over a few years, that way they can look for other jobs in the private sector if they don't believe they are being compensated fairly in the public arena. I think that would be fair.
"Talking Points" believes that class warfare is about to break out in America. Union benefits are strangling not only state budgets but also the private economy.
Yes, workers do need protection. They need some kind of security in the marketplace. But, the cold truth is, that federal and state workers have reached the top of their earning pyramid. Bankruptcy looms in California and other states and give-backs are coming. The blow back to that will be nasty. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/17/11, via Nexis]
Hannity: "Wisconsin Taxpayers" Are "Picking Up The Slack" For State Workers. Sean Hannity stated that "Walker is asking that members of the unions do the following, put 5.8 percent of their wages towards their pensions. Most contribute almost nothing as things stand right now." He then stated, "Its Wisconsin taxpayers, they're the ones picking up the slack." [Fox News, Hannity, 2/17/11, via Nexis]
FACT: The Shortfall Is Largely Due To Obligations Unrelated To Unions
AP: Wisconsin Faces Shortfall "Due Largely To Anticipated Medicaid Expenses And A Court-Ordered Repayment To A Fund That Was Raided Four Years Ago," And Walker's Tax Policies "Actually Make The State's Ongoing Budget Problem Worse." In a February 1 article, The Associated Press reported that "[a] new analysis released Monday showed that Wisconsin's budget could be between $79 million and $340 million short by June 30 due largely to anticipated Medicaid expenses and a court-ordered repayment to a fund that was raided four years ago." The AP further reported that tax cuts pushed through by Walker will "make the state's ongoing budget problem worse." [The Associated Press, 2/1/11]
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Outlines Major Causes Of Wisconsin's Budget Shortfall, Which Include "Two Big Obligations" Unrelated To Unions That Total Almost $260M. In a January 31 article, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted causes of the state's budget shortfall and reported that Walker's tax policies accounted for "more than half" of an anticipated $203 million decline in tax revenues. Additionally, the article noted that "two big obligations [are] looming" for the state which will cost the state an estimated $258.7 million; neither are related to unions. [The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/31/11]
Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Wisconsin's Union-Busting Proposal Would Help Resolve State's Budget Deficit
Limbaugh: "This Is Not Anti-Union Legislation, This Is Budget Reform." From the February 23 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: In reality, Governor Walker is trying to save union jobs here. And if his reforms fail, there will have to be layoffs, possibly as soon as Friday. It's like gravity. It's not a suggestion, it's the law. "The governor says the bill is needed to help solve the state's looming budget deficit, but Democrats see it as an all-out assault on unions, their staunchest campaign ally." And by "staunchest campaign ally," they mean their paymaster and their de facto bosses.
So, note the headline of the story here: "Wisconsin Democrats filibuster to delay anti-union bill." The stenographer here is Todd Richmond of the Associated Press. Mr. Richmond, this is not anti-union legislation, this is budget reform. But you just couldn't see fit to put that in your headline, could you? You couldn't mention that in the story. Budget reform is what this is. That's what this governor is charged with. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/23/11, via Media Matters]
National Journal: Walker's Proposed Anti-Union Measures "Wouldn't Save Any Money This Year." From a February 23 National Journal article:
The state's entire budget shortfall for this year -- the reason that Walker has said he must push through immediate cuts -- would be covered by the governor's relatively uncontroversial proposal to restructure the state's debt.
By contrast, the proposals that have kicked up a firestorm, especially his call to curtail the collective-bargaining rights of the state's public-employees, wouldn't save any money this year.
"What we're asking for is modest, at least to those of us outside of government," Walker said in a televised address Tuesday night.
In January, the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported that the state would face a $137 million shortfall before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The governor's budget repair bill proposes a debt restructuring that would save the state $165 million in the near term, more than covering the shortfall.
The legislation would also borrow money from a federal welfare program to cover further state shortfalls, and it includes a provision that would allow the sale of the state's public utilities without a bidding process or public oversight.
While public unions have agreed to almost $30 million in pay cuts this year if they can keep their bargaining rights, Walker and other Republicans argue that restrictions on union bargaining are necessary to maintain the cuts over time. [National Journal, 2/23/11]
Limbaugh: "It's What He Campaigned On." From the February 23 edition of Limbaugh's radio show:
LIMBAUGH: So, note the headline of the story here: "Wisconsin Democrats filibuster to delay anti-union bill." The stenographer here is Todd Richmond of the Associated Press. Mr. Richmond, this is not anti-union legislation, this is budget reform. But you just couldn't see fit to put that in your headline, could you? You couldn't mention that in the story. Budget reform is what this is. That's what this governor is charged with. It's what he campaigned on, it's what his job is. Why leave it out? Everything the Democrats do is called reform. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/23/11, via Media Matters]
PolitiFact: Walker Did Not Campaign On Budget Repair Plan. On February 22, PolitiFact Wisconsin gave a "false" rating to Walker's claim that he campaigned on his budget proposals, including curtailing collective bargaining:
In the turbulent wake of his controversial plan to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has faced criticism that he gave no warning of such a dramatic plan during the long 2010 governor's race.
Walker has forcefully challenged that contention, most bluntly at a Feb. 21, 2011 news conference. A reporter asked if the move to limit union power was payback for pro-union moves made by Democrats in the past.
"It's not a tit for tat," Walker responded. "The simple matter is I campaigned on this all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years."
Let's sum up our research.
Walker contends he clearly "campaigned on" his union bargaining plan.
But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.
While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.
We rate his statement False. [PolitiFact Wisconsin, 2/22/11]
Laura Ingraham Also Falsely Claimed That Walker Campaigned On Limiting Collective Bargaining. On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly corrected Ingraham, saying that Walker "did not campaign on limiting collective bargaining." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/24/11]
"Fantastic": Fox & Friends Took A Victory Lap After WI Senate Passed Anti-Union Bill
WI Senate GOP Uses Parliamentary Procedure To Pass Collective Bargaining Bill Without Democrats. On March 9, Wisconsin Senate Republicans passed a bill that eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public union employees. The bill was then sent to a Senate-Assembly conference committee. From the Wisconsin State Journal:
In a surprise move late Wednesday, Senate Republicans used a series of parliamentary maneuvers to overcome a three-week stalemate with Democrats and pass an amended version of the governor's controversial budget repair bill.
With a crowd of protesters chanting outside their chambers, Senators approved Gov. Scott Walker's bill, which would strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees. The new bill removes fiscal elements of the proposal but still curbs collective bargaining and increases employee payments in pension and health benefits. The changes would amount to an approximate 8 percent pay cut for public workers.
After the session, Senate Republicans scattered, leaving no one to explain how they managed to pass components of the bill that seemed to have a fiscal impact, including changes in pensions and benefits, without the 20 senators needed to vote on fiscal matters. In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he had consulted with the Legislature's attorneys and "every item in tonight's bill follows the letter of the law."
The move ended a bizarre two-and-a-half hour legislative sprint in which the Senate hastily gaveled in and sent the measure to a Senate-Assembly conference committee, which typically works out differences between similar bills passed by the two houses. [Wisconsin State Journal, 3/10/11]
Doocy: If The WI Democrats Don't Like What Happened In WI, "Too Bad." The co-hosts devoted several segments of the March 10 edition of Fox & Friends to cheering the passage of the bill in the Wisconsin Senate. At the beginning of the show, co-host Steve Doocy dismissed Democrats' concerns that Wednesday's proceedings may have violated Wisconsin's open meeting law. From the show:
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Well, we said that yesterday that, at least, I did, that I thought it was favorable to the governor that those e-mails were released, because it showed he was coming off his mark a little bit. But guess what? Now the Democrats are going to say, "Look, this was unconstitutional, what the Republicans did." They are claiming now it's a violation of Wisconsin's open meeting law because they only got two hours' notice.
DOOCY: Well, too bad. They left their jobs three weeks ago and then the Republicans gave them a chance, gave them a chance, "Come on back. We're going to take your parking, take your paycheck." Nothing. Understandably, the Democrats in Wisconsin are furious. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/10/11]
Fox & Friends Hosted WI GOP Sen. Scott Fitzgerald To Discuss The WI Republicans' Vote. Later in the show, Doocy and co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed the Wisconsin Senate President Scott Fitzgerald (R). The co-hosts encouraged Fitzgerald to deride both protesters and Democratic legislators and encouraged him to promote, without evidence, the claim that the Obama administration is secretly orchestrating recall efforts underway in Wisconsin. Recall efforts are reportedly underway for both Republican and Democratic members of the Wisconsin legislature. From the broadcast:
KILMEADE: Joining us right now by the phone is Wisconsin Republican State Senate President Scott Fitzgerald. Senator Fitzgerald, this is a stunner. Tell me about the legal maneuvers that led to this move that has 14 Democrats in Illinois scratching their head, saying, "How did we lose? "
FITZGERALD: Well, as part of the bill, there were certain items that triggered this three-fifths quorum that was needed to move a bill that would otherwise be considered fiscal. And what we did was, we removed those items from the bill so we could pass the legislation forward. We did it in a conference committee.
DOOCY: And I understand the Democrats are already calling foul. They said, "Oh, you had to give us 24 hours' notice."
FITZGERALD: No, that's not true at all. As a matter of fact, the two-hour notice that we actually did give them is more than sufficient in special session. They know it. And everybody in the Capitol knows it.
KILMEADE: Senator, how long did you have this in your pocket? Because it caught almost everyone not named Charles Krauthammer by surprise.
FITZGERALD: Well, we knew this was available to us, and so did the Democrats. For the last, you know, three weeks, we had been discussing it. It really was about -- we weren't sure if labor was pulling the strings on the Democrats in Chicago, and I think as of yesterday, everybody assumed that they weren't coming back unless labor let them. So we started to talk about this and consider this. It does mean that some of the items that we wanted to pass through the legislature, because they're an intricate part of the governor's budget, didn't make it. And that was one of the reasons we didn't jump at this early on.
DOOCY: You were just mentioning how big labor was pulling some of the strings. Now, there is an effort on the part of a number of Democrats to have a number of Republicans recalled. And I understand you feel that somebody could be pulling those strings, and that could be the White House.
FITZGERALD: Absolutely. I mean, some of the individuals that filed petitions against our Republican senators have direct links to the Obama team in Chicago, and it doesn't surprise me because Wisconsin is certainly one of the states that's targeted, obviously, in the presidential election in 2012, so this is a big blow to labor in Wisconsin. And, unfortunately, I think, yeah, there is some involvement there.
DOOCY: Speaking of that powder keg of a building, we're looking at some of the pictures from last night. I understand when they wouldn't -- when the officers wouldn't let people in, somehow people started going through the window. That's not good.
FITZGERALD: No. It's -- it's absolutely chaos there. It's been like that for three weeks. One of the disappointing things, I think, about my Democrat colleagues in the Senate --
DOOCY: There's the window.
FITZGERALD: -- is they didn't think to really care about the environment that not only we were working in, but law enforcement and even their own staff. They didn't seem to care about that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/10/11, via Media Matters]
Fox & Friends Interviews A Second WI GOP State Senator. Later in the show, the co-hosts interviewed a second Republican Wisconsin state senator, Randy Hopper. The co-hosts again encouraged a GOP state senator to claim that "the White House may have somehow been trying to synchronize this recall effort." They also did not challenge Hopper's claims that GOP Wisconsin senators were "willing to negotiate" and that the bill is "in the best interest of the working people of Wisconsin" and is about "balancing the budget," not breaking public unions. From the broadcast:
KILMEADE: How long did you know you had this card to play, and do you think Democrats knew you had this card to play all along?
HOPPER: Well, you know what, we've been trying -- I've tried personally and our leadership tried repeatedly to reach the people in Illinois, to reach those AWOL senators, and try to get them to come back and to do their job, and they were unwilling to do it. And we need to move the state forward. I know that people in my caucus talked about -- this wasn't worth political posturing to risk 1,500, and even thousands of family-supporting jobs in the state.
DOOCY: Senator, who is pulling the strings? We had the Senate majority leader with us about an hour or so ago, and he said that big labor was trying to keep the Democrats in Illinois, and the White House may have somehow been trying to synchronize this recall effort to recall a number of Republican senators.
HOPPER: Well, I can tell you in my district, the person that's heading up the recall effort in my district, was doing some work on behalf of either the administration or big labor in Colorado prior to moving into my district to do my recall. You know, the recalls were something that they used to threaten members of my caucus, to change their vote on this bill. They used intimidation in terms of physical threats to try to get us to change our votes, and I just have so much respect for members of our colleagues that stood in front of that and said, "We're going to do what's right for the people of Wisconsin."
DOOCY: Sure. Well, if the White House is involved, and big labor is involved, would that say to you they're trying to make this an issue for 2012?
HOPPER: I think there is absolutely no question this is an issue for 2012. People from Organizing for America have been running the protest in Madison for quite some time now, and I think that there is no question that the president has some involvement in this, I don't know what, but listen, we need to do what's in the best interest of the working people of Wisconsin and that's what we've done.
KILMEADE: Senator, was this about breaking the union or balancing the budget?
HOPPER: This is about balancing the budget. If -- I mean, everything about this bill is about fiscal components, whether it's the $159,000 bus driver in Madison, whether it's $68 million that WEAC [Wisconsin Education Association Council], the teachers' union, forces school districts to spend, their health care plans on WEAC-owned health plans, you know, it's entirely about fiscally balancing our budget.
KILMEADE: But you had to strip the fiscal stuff out of it in order to be able to pass it.
HOPPER: Actually everything is fiscal. Everything that we passed last night still has fiscal components. What we did do is -- we can't allocate those funds. We can't appropriate the funds that we save. So even though those things are very fiscal, we can't spend the money until one of the Democrats decides to come back and do their job. But what we can start doing is we can start capturing the savings. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/10/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling: "I Was In The Car, Fist Pumping" When I Heard Fitzgerald's Fox & Friends Interview; "That's Fantastic What They Did In WI." Later in the show, the co-hosts invited Fox Business host Eric Bolling on the air. At one point, Bolling said, "By the way, that interview with Scott Fitzgerald this morning on the phone -- I was in the car fist pumping. That is fantastic what they did there." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/10/11]
Beck Falsely Claimed No Law Protects Public Sector Collective Bargaining Rights
Beck: "There Was Never A Law Passed" Allowing Public Sector Collective Bargaining. From the April 5 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: May I just spend a minute on collective bargaining? FDR, the lion of progressivism, was against it for government employees. And that's what we're talking about here. Why was he against it?
Because FDR was not anti-American. He just didn't see America the same way. But he wasn't trying to destroy it entirely. He was going to make it the leader of the world.
He warned about the dangers of government strike, which he called unthinkable and intolerable. Even the president of the AFL-CIO in 1955 said it was impossible to collectively bargain with the government. This was never a right. This was an executive order by John Kennedy. There was never a law passed.
You have two parties negotiating a deal and they're using someone else's money: yours. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/5/11, via Media Matters]
Beck: "Know The History And Truth Of Your Own Country." Moments after claiming "there was never a law passed" allowing public sector collective bargaining, Beck warned that history is "being hijacked":
BECK: Do you see what's happening? And they're equating that with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement? It's an abomination.
I told you at the very beginning of this year when I came back from vacation and we met here, I told you about E4. I told you that you were the solution, to stop looking for leaders, to be a leader yourself.
Enlightenment -- find out what you truly believe. Is God important? Educate yourself. Empower yourself.
And then, entrepreneurship -- be part of something creative, not a destructive force. Be a force for good. Know the history and the truth of your own country, it is so important because history is being hijacked. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/5/11, via Media Matters]
Beck Has Previously Misinformed About Collective Bargaining In Order To Attack Unions. Beck has previously falsely claimed that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said "collective bargaining would destroy us." He has also dismissed the fact that Martin Luther King Jr. died while fighting for labor rights and suggested that unions are using workers to further their planned "destruction of the western way of life." [Media Matters, 3/1/11, 3/2/11, 3/21/11]
In Fact, Federal Statute Allows Civil Servants To Collectively Bargain
The Civil Service Reform Act Of 1978 Gave Federal Employees Right To Join Unions. From the website of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, an agency set up by the Civil Service Reform Act:
The FLRA is an independent administrative federal agency created by Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (also known as the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute) (the Statute). ... The Statute allows certain non-postal federal employees to organize, bargain collectively, and participate through labor organizations of their choice in decisions affecting their working lives. The Postal Reorganization Act ... governs labor-management relations in the Postal Service.
The Statute defines and lists the rights of employees, labor organizations, and agencies so as to reflect the public interest demand for the highest standards of employee performance and the efficient accomplishment of Government operations. ... Specifically, the Statute requires that its provisions "should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the requirement of an effective and efficient Government." [Federal Labor Relations Authority, accessed 4/5/11]
The Civil Service Reform Act Of 1978 Grants Federal Employees Right To "Engage In Collective Bargaining." From the Civil Service Reform Act:
Each [federal] employee shall have the right to form, join, or assist any labor organization, or to refrain from any such activity, freely and without fear of penalty or reprisal, and each employee shall be protected in the exercise of such right. Except as otherwise provided under this chapter, such right includes the right --
(1) to act for a labor organization in the capacity of a representative and the right, in that capacity, to present the views of the labor organization to heads of agencies and other officials of the executive branch of the Government, the Congress, or other appropriate authorities, and
(2) to engage in collective bargaining with respect to conditions of employment through representatives chosen by employees under this chapter. [5 U.S.C. § 7102, accessed 4/6/11, via Cornell University Law School]
The Civil Service Reform Act Of 1978 Provides That "Labor Organizations And Collective Bargaining In the Civil Service Are In The Public Interest." From the Civil Service Reform Act:
The Congress finds that --
(1) experience in both private and public employment indicates that the statutory protection of the right of employees to organize, bargain collectively, and participate through labor organizations of their own choosing in decisions which affect them --
(A) safeguards the public interest,
(B) contributes to the effective conduct of public business, and
(C) facilitates and encourages the amicable settlements of disputes between employees and their employers involving conditions of employment.
Therefore, labor organizations and collective bargaining in the civil service are in the public interest. [5 U.S.C. § 7101, accessed 4/6/11, via Cornell University Law School]
Beginning With Wisconsin, States Also Give Public Employees Right To Collectively Bargain
Wisconsin Passed First Law Allowing State Employees To Collectively Bargain In 1959. The Wisconsin Education Association Council reports:
Stories about the 1959 Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Law and how it passed are apocryphal and difficult to verify. Many say Wisconsin's teachers gained their collective bargaining rights rather accidentally, as conservative lawmakers who opposed collective bargaining rights for public employees added teachers to the bill thinking that would convince moderates to vote against it. To the conservatives' chagrin, the bill passed anyway, and apparently did so without the support or even the real notice of the Wisconsin Education Association.
What is not in dispute is that the 1959 law was the first collective bargaining law for public employees in the United States, and the first law of any kind that granted teachers anywhere the right to organize into unions. [Wisconsin Education Association Council, accessed 4/6/11]
Following Wisconsin's Lead, Other States Gave Employees The Power To Join Unions And Collectively Bargain. Before the wave of anti-union legislation, dozens of states permitted at least some state employees to unionize. [TalkingPointsMemo, 2/18/11]
Fox Advanced Flawed WI Jobs Claim To Tout Gov. Walker's Policies
Carlson: "In June, [Wisconsin] Gained 8,500 Jobs. That's More Than Half Of What The Entire Nation Gained Overall." On the August 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson introduced a segment featuring GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by claiming: "In June, the state gained 8,500 jobs. That's more than half of what the entire nation gained overall." From the broadcast:
CARLSON: Welcome back, everyone. The state of Wisconsin is seeing success in job growth -- Fox News Alert. In June, the state gained 8,500 jobs. That's more than half of what the entire nation gained overall.
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Meanwhile, one of those reasons for success, the governor, just seven months on the job, Scott Walker has helped the state get back more than a quarter of the jobs lost during the big recession. How did he do it? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]
Fox & Friends also aired the following graphic:
Camerota: Wisconsin Added "9,500 Jobs In June. That's More Than Half The Jobs Created Nationwide The Very Same Month." On the August 3 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota stated: "[O]ne state that is seeing job growth is the union battleground of Wisconsin. The state adding 9,500 jobs in June. That's more than half the jobs created nationwide the very same month." Camerota then aired a clip of Walker's interview on Fox & Friends. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 8/3/11]
PolitiFact Wisconsin: Claim That "More Than Half The Nation's Job Growth In June Came From Wisconsin" Is "False"
PolitiFact Wisconsin: "Walker, The State GOP And The Others Touting The National Numbers Are Making A Flawed Comparison." In a July 21 post, PolitiFact Wisconsin rated the claim that "more than half the nation's job growth in June came from Wisconsin" as "False." From PolitiFact Wisconsin:
In short, Walker, the state GOP and the others touting the national numbers are making a flawed comparison. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does separate national and state-by-state studies, each with different parameters and margins of error. The agency says it's wrong to mix the two estimates -- a warning included as a footnote on the documents themselves.
Here's how they put it:
"State estimation procedures are designed to produce accurate data for each individual state. (The bureau) independently develops the national employment series and does not force state estimates to sum to national totals nor vice versa.
"Because each state series is subject to larger sampling and nonsampling errors than the national series, summing them cumulates individual state levels errors and can cause significant distortions at an aggregate level. Due to these statistical limitations, (the bureau) does not compile a 'sum of states' employment series and cautions users that such a series is subject to a relatively large and volatile error structure."
In short, the bureau says you can't accurately use the individual state jobs reports to make a national comparison. Or even shorter: Don't do it.
Walker addressed the flawed comparisons a few days after the jobs report was released, during a July 26, 2011 appearance in Wausau.
"We made it very clear at our announcement that (our number) was not half of all the jobs out there, though it is an interesting parallel," Walker said.
In looking back at the various statements, some clearly went further than others -- and further than Walker's original tweet. Many of the strongest comparisons seem to take the lead from the state GOP, which claimed "over 50 percent of U.S. job growth in June came from our state."
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, it is wrong to combine the two sets of numbers to reach this conclusion. After all, by that approach Minnesota, California and Texas could all say the same as the state GOP, which would lead to at least four halves and, apparently, two wholes.
This item isn't on whether the jobs news was good -- clearly it was -- but on how it was presented.
We rate the state GOP claim False. [PolitiFact.com, 7/21/11]
Associated Press: "That The Bulk Of The U.S. Jobs Were [Added] In Wisconsin ... As It Turns Out [Is] Far From The Case." The Associated Press (AP) reported that "Walker was correct this week in saying Wisconsin's net gain of 9,500 jobs last month was more than half the jobs added across the nation in that period," but noted that "[c]omparing the Wisconsin and U.S. figures directly ... could lead to a faulty inference -- that the bulk of the new U.S. jobs were in Wisconsin. As it turns out, that's far from the case." From the AP:
Gov. Scott Walker was correct this week in saying Wisconsin's net gain of 9,500 jobs last month was more than half the jobs added across the nation in that period - but looking at figures from other states makes the tally seem not quite as rosy.
While Wisconsin's monthly job numbers are generally released with little fanfare, Walker held a news conference Thursday to call attention to June's figure. He revealed that Wisconsin had added 12,900 private-sector jobs and lost 3,400 government jobs, for a net gain of 9,500 jobs.
Meanwhile, he noted, the U.S. recorded a net increase of 18,000 jobs for the month. All numbers are seasonally adjusted.
"In light of national job numbers ... our efforts in Wisconsin stand out," he said.
Comparing the Wisconsin and U.S. figures directly, however, could lead to a faulty inference -- that the bulk of the new U.S. jobs were in Wisconsin. As it turns out, that's far from the case.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, five states added more net jobs last month than Wisconsin did -- Texas (32,000 jobs), California (28,800), Michigan (18,000), Minnesota (13,200) and Massachusetts (10,400).
Nationwide, the gains were offset by net losses elsewhere, particularly in three states affected by harsh weather this spring. Tennessee lost 16,900 jobs, Missouri shed 15,700 jobs, and Virginia had a loss of 14,600 jobs. [AP, via Forbes.com, 7/23/11]
Hannity Falsely Claimed Ohio Public Workers Earn More Than Private-Sector Counterparts
Hannity: "Public Workers" In Ohio "Make More Money On Average Than Those In The Private Sector." During the March 1 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said, "[A]ccording to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Ohio is one of 41 states, including Wisconsin, where public workers make more money on average than those in the private sector." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/01/11]
Hannity's Claim Echoes Discredited USA Today Analysis
USA Today: BEA Data Shows That "Wisconsin Is One Of 41 States Where Public Employees Earn Higher Average Pay And Benefits Than Private Workers." On March 1, USA Today reported its analysis of the differences in compensation between public and private workers state-by-state, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:
Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public employees earn higher average pay and benefits than private workers in the same state, a USA TODAY analysis finds. Still, the compensation of Wisconsin's government workers ranks below the national average for non-federal public employees and has increased only slightly since 2000.
The analysis included full and part-time workers and did not adjust for specific jobs, age, education or experience. In an earlier job-to-job comparison, USA TODAY found that state and local government workers make about the same salary as those in the private sector but get more generous benefits. [USA Today, 3/01/11]
EPI's Keefe: USA Today Analysis Is "Misleading." The USA Today article included criticism of its analysis from economist Jeffrey Keefe of the Economic Policy Institute:
Economist Jeffrey Keefe of the liberal Economic Policy Institute says the analysis is misleading because it doesn't reflect factors such as education that result in higher pay for public employees. [USA Today, 3/01/11]
CEPR's Baker: USA Today Analysis Did Not Account For "Education, Experience Or Other Factors That Typically Affect Pay." Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said of the USA Today study:
USA Today ran an article highlighting a difference in pay between government workers and private sector workers in Wisconsin and 40 other states. The methodology used in the article simply takes average compensation per worker without adjusting for their education, experience or other factors that typically affect pay. (Most people expect a cardiologist with 25 years of experience to earn more than a 20-year old counter person at McDonalds.)
Analyses that do control for education, experience and other factors in ways that are standard within economics consistently find that public sector workers receive somewhat lower compensation than comparable workers in the private sector. [CEPR's Beat the Press, 3/01/11]
EPI: OH Public Workers Earn Less Than Private Sector Workers
EPI's Keefe: Public Employees In Ohio "Earn Lower Wages Than Comparable Private Sector Employees." Economist Jeffrey Keefe of the Economic Policy Institute wrote:
The research shows, however, that state and local government employees in Ohio are not overpaid. (When we refer to public employees, we are referring to state and local employees, not federal workers.) Comparisons controlling for education, experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, and disability reveal that employees of state and local governments earn lower wages than comparable private sector employees. Average annual wages and salaries of full-time state and local public employees in Ohio are 5.9% lower than those of comparable private sector employees. However, some full-time public employees work fewer hours on average, particularly college-educated employees. When annual hours worked are factored in, full-time state and local employees earn 3.3% less in wages and salaries than similar private sector workers. Looking at total compensation (wages and nonwage benefits) Ohio public employees annually earn 6% less than comparable private sector employees and 3.5% less on an hourly basis than comparable private sector employees. [Economic Policy Institute, 2/10/11]
Jeffrey Keefe's report included the following chart:
[Economic Policy Institute, 2/10/11]
Right-Wing Media Used Wildly Inflated Cleanup Estimate To Bash Wisconsin Protesters
Fox, The Blaze Use Wildly Inflated Cleanup Estimate To Bash Wisconsin Protesters. Fox Nation, Fox & Friends Saturday, and Glenn Beck's The Blaze gave an estimate of $7.5 million for the costs of cleaning up after the protesters. In fact, the AP reported that the restoration of the state Capitol's marble would be "very limited." [Media Matters, 3/5/11]
Media Figures Called For Elimination Of NLRB
Reason's Cavanaugh: "The NLRB Needs To Be Abolished." From Fox Business' Freedom Watch:
NAPOLITANO: Can the president state, with a straight face, that America is open for business when Boeing spends $1 billion on a new plant that's the size of 11 football fields in South Carolina and the NLRB won't let them go there?
TIM CAVANAUGH (columnist, Reason magazine): Absolutely not. I mean, just ask the people of South Carolina how the NLRB is smoothing the rocky path of Congress. The NLRB needs to be abolished. We need a time machine to go back to 1935 and make sure it doesn't get built in the first place. The government needs to take no role in unionization or in management. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 6/24/11]
Fox's Eric Bolling On NLRB: "Get Rid Of Them. They're Anti-Business. The Union, The Goonion Model Business Model Is Broken." From Fox News' Bulls & Bears:
BRENDA BUTTNER (host): Senate Republicans coming to the rescue of right-to-work states, and Boeing's fight to build a plant in one of those states. They're pushing a new bill banning the government's labor board from telling businesses where they can and can't do business. But Eric, you say it's time to put the labor board out of business.
BOLLING: That's right Brenda. Get rid of them. They're anti-business. The union, the goonion business model is broken. Boeing spent $2 billion, created a thousand new jobs, and tried to do that in South Carolina. The NLRB came in and said, "No, you can't do that." [Fox News, Bulls & Bears, 5/14/11]
Fox's David Asman On "Eliminat[ing]" The NLRB: "What A Wonderful Idea. Just Get Rid Of The Thing." From Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
ASMAN: Now here`s an idea that caught our attention -- eliminate the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB. South Carolina Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy says there are plenty of laws already that make the NLRB redundant. Congressmen Gowdy joins me now. Congressman, What a wonderful idea. Just get rid of the thing. What does the NLRB do that the laws on the books don`t do? [Fox Business, 9/7/11]
Right-Wing Claimed NLRB Was Punishing Boeing For Trying To Locate In A Right-To-Work State, Hire Nonunion Labor
Washington Times Editorial Calls Boeing Case "Outrageous" And A "Misuse Of Administrative Power To Punish Right-To-Work States." From an editorial in The Washington Times:
House Republicans are fighting back against President Obama's misuse of administrative power to punish right-to-work states. On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Scott introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The agency wants to force the airline manufacturer to close up operations in Charleston and move the jobs to Puget Sound, where the labor bosses reign, because setting up in South Carolina was allegedly an example of "unfair labor practices." [The Washington Times, 5/25/11]
Fox's Juliet Huddy: "The NLRB Is Suing Because The Jobs Are Nonunion," And NLRB's Action Is "Unprecedented." On the September 2 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest co-host Juliet Huddy claimed that the NLRB's complaint against Boeing was the result of planned Boeing jobs in South Carolina being "nonunion." Huddy also stated that the NLRB's complaint against Boeing is "unprecedented." From the broadcast:
JULIET HUDDY: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has some strong words for President Obama. She calls him, quote, "cowardly" for not speaking about the union fight to stop Boeing from opening its new plant in South Carolina. Haley also called on the president to address the National Labor Relations Board's unprecedented lawsuit in his upcoming jobs speech. The NLRB is suing because the jobs are nonunion. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/2/11]
Wallace: NLRB "Went After Boeing For Wanting to Build A Plant In Right-To-Work South Carolina." From the broadcast:
CHRIS WALLACE (guest host): Rich Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, announcing Big Labor's new plan to push its candidates and causes in the 2012 election.
We're back now with our panel. So, Mara [Liasson], the Obama administration has taken a really strong pro-union tilt in recent weeks and months. The National Labor Relations Board, with its Democratic Obama-appointed majority, went after Boeing for wanting to build a plant in right-to-work South Carolina. Now the NLRB says employers must post notices of workers' rights in all workplaces -- their rights to organize -- even though there hasn't been any case. They're really deciding it on their own. [Fox News, Special Report, 8/31/11, via Media Matters]
Kilmeade: "It Seems Anti-American To Think [Boeing] Can't" Open A Plant In South Carolina "For Whatever Reason." On the June 21 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) about the NLRB's case against Boeing. After airing video of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) saying that "Boeing is not above the law" and should not receive "preferred treatment," Kilmeade said: "Above the law? If Boeing wants to expand and go to South Carolina for whatever reason, it doesn't -- it seems anti-American to think they can't." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/21/11, via Media Matters]
Hugh Hewitt On Boeing Case: "Obama May Have Ordered The Attack On Bin Laden, But He Has Also Ordered An Attack On American Manufacturing And Defense." From a May 8 Washington Examiner op-ed by right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt:
As Americans toast SEAL Team 6 and its Army pilots and vast support network, the GOP's would-be nominees should be pointing to the Pentagon that ordered and produced the tools used in the mission, and defending its budget as the president tries to find deep cuts there that will spare his favored constituencies painful reductions in government largess.
Part of that argument ought to be a vigorous defense of Boeing, now in the cross hairs of the president's Alinskyite appointees at the National Labor Relations Board.
Obama's attack on Boeing's decision to create great jobs in a red state, even when the manufacturer is one of America's great defense contractors, is a huge issue that needs to be used by GOP candidates up and down the ticket to define the president and his agenda.
Obama may have ordered the attack on bin Laden, but he has also ordered an attack on American manufacturing and defense, and especially on the freedom of businesses to build and expand where they want to. [The Washington Examiner, 5/8/11]
Asman On NLRB Complaint: "We Used To Laugh At This Kind Of Soviet Economic Planning When We Saw It Happen Elsewhere. But Now The NLRB Wants To Force-Feed It To Us Right Here." From the June 20 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
DAVID ASMAN (host): When private lawyers start making management decision for private companies, we are in deep trouble. And that is just what the NLRB is trying to do with Boeing. NLRB general counsel wants a court order requiring Boeing to close shop in South Carolina and build a new factory in the state of Washington. They then want to force Boeing to build 787s at the Washington facility - exact number of which to be determined not by Boeing, but by the lawyers at the NLRB. Now we used to laugh at this kind of Soviet economic planning when we saw it happen elsewhere. But now the NLRB wants to force-feed it to us right here, right in the midst of a dangerously weak economy. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 6/20/11, via Media Matters]
WSJ Editorial: "The NLRB Sued [Boeing] In April To Prevent It From Building A New Plant In South Carolina." From a July 28 editorial in The Wall Street Journal:
Teenagers in the 1960s listened to Beatles records backwards in search of hidden meanings -- a trick akin to the task of deciphering President Obama's statements on the battle between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board. Since the NLRB sued the airplane company in April to prevent it from building a new plant in South Carolina, Mr. Obama's position has alternated between silent and incomprehensible.
The NLRB's campaign against Boeing has captured political attention -- and created business anxiety -- because it is a government attempt to restrict the free movement of capital. It attempts to punish workers merely because their states passed right-to-work laws. [The Wall Street Journal, 7/28/11]
Bolling: NLRB Is "Saying You Can't Hire Workers At A Lower Wage In South Carolina. You Need To Hire In Washington State Where We Can Get Our Grimy Little ... Hands On You And Raise Your Wage." From the May 10 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, guest-hosted by Eric Bolling:
ERIC BOLLING: The world's largest aerospace company wants to start production at a new $2 billion manufacturing plant in South Carolina this July. That plant would create more than a thousand jobs, but the government's National Labor Relations Board is trying to stop Boeing because this new plant would be in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of in Washington state, where labor rights are the law of the land. So here's a company who's trying to create jobs but is getting a roadblock from the White House.
BOLLING: Why does the NLRB have an opinion about Boeing opening a new plant in South Carolina?
MAYOR VIRG BERNERO (D-Lansing, MI): The NLRB has an opinion --
BOLLING: They already have a plant in Washington state.
BERNERO: The NLRB as an opinion and a role in how workers are treated. And I want to live in a country where workers have rights and can choose to form a union if they wish. You know, I don't wake up in the morning and say WWPD, What Would Putin Do? I want to live in a country where people have rights and people have freedom of association.
BOLLING: Virg, does the NLRB have a right to tell Boeing how much profit it can make?
BERNERO: Well, of course not. But the point is --
BOLLING: Well that's what they're doing. They're saying you can't hire workers at a lower wage in South Carolina. You need to hire in Washington state where we can get our grimy little [unintelligible] hands on you and raise your wage.
BERNERO: I don't think that's what they are saying. I think what they're saying is that workers have rights. And I think they have made a legal finding of fact that workers are being punished for their union activities. And I want to live in a country where people have the right to belong to union without fear of reprisal. Now, maybe that is not the America you envision. But that's the America I want to live in. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/10/11]
Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer: The National Labor Relations Board Is "Stacked With Democrats" And "Retaliating Against" Boeing For "Choosing Right-To-Work South Carolina." From Krauthammer's Washington Post column:
But Democratic fealty to unions does not stop there. Boeing has just completed a production facility in South Carolina for its new 787 Dreamliner. The National Labor Relations Board, stacked with Democrats -- including one former union lawyer considered so partisan that he required a recess appointment after the Senate refused to confirm him -- is trying to get the plant declared illegal. Why? Because by choosing right-to-work South Carolina, Boeing is accused of retaliating against its unionized Washington state workers for previous strikes.
Moreover, the idea that a company in a unionized state can thus be prohibited from expanding into right-to-work states by a partisan regulatory body is quite insane. It violates the fundamental principle in a free-market economy that companies can move and build in response to market conditions, rather than administrative fiat. It jeopardizes the economic recovery, not only targeting America's single largest exporter in its attempt to compete with Airbus for a huge global market, but also threatening any other company that might think of expanding in any way displeasing to unions and their NLRB patrons. [The Washington Post, 6/16/11]
Case Was Based On Allegation Of Unlawful Retaliation By Boeing Against Employees For Lawful Activity -- Not Union Status Of SC
National Labor Relations Act Gives Employees "The Right To ... Join Labor Organizations" And "Engage In Other Concerted Activities." From Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (codified as Section 157 of Title 29 of the U.S. Code):
Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 158 (a)(3) of this title. [29 U.S.C. § 157, accessed 5/10/11, via Law.Cornell.edu]
National Labor Relations Act Forbids Employer Actions That "Interfere With, Restrain, Or Coerce Employees In The Exercise" Of Right To Form Unions And Engage In Concerted Activities. From Section 8(a) of the National Labor Relations Act:
It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer --
(1) to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 157 of this title;
(3) by discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization. [29 U.S.C. § 158, accessed 5/10/11, via Law.Cornell.edu]
NLRB General Counsel's Office Complaint Alleges Boeing "Threatened Or Impliedly Threatened" Workers That They "Would Lose Additional Work In The Event Of Future Strikes." From the complaint against Boeing filed by the NLRB General counsel's office:
On or about the dates and by the manner noted below, Respondent [Boeing] made coercive statements to its employees that it would remove or had removed work from the Unit because employees had struck and Respondent threatened or impliedly threatened that the Unit would lose additional work in the event of future strikes. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Alleges Boeing CEO Said He Was Moving "787 Dreamliner Work To South Carolina Due To 'Strikes Happening Every Three To Four Years' " In Washington State. From the complaint:
[Boeing president, chairman, and CEO, Jim McNerney] made an extended statement regarding "diversifying [Respondent's] labor pool and labor relationship," and moving the 787 Dreamliner work to South Carolina due to "strikes happening every three to four years in Puget Sound." [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Alleges Boeing VP Said Company Relocated Production To South Carolina "Because Of Past Unit Strikes, And Threatened The Loss Of Future Unit Work Opportunities Because Of Such Strikes." From the complaint:
[Boeing executive vice president Jim Albaugh] stated that Respondent decided to locate its 787 Dreamliner second line in South Carolina because of past Unit strikes, and threatened the loss of future Unit work opportunities because of such strikes. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Alleges Boeing Decided To Transfer 787 Production To SC Because Washington State Employees "Engag[ed] In ... Lawful Strikes." From paragraph 7 of the complaint:
(a) In or about October 2009, on a date better known to Respondent, but no later than October 28, 2009, Respondent decided to transfer its second 787 Dreamliner production line of 3 planes per month from the Unit to its non-union site in North Charleston, South Carolina.
(b) Respondent engaged in the conduct described above in paragraph 7(a) because the Unit employees assisted and/or supported the Union by, inter alia, engaging in the protected, concerted activity of lawful strikes and to discourage these and/or other employees from engaging in these or other union and/or protected, concerted activities.
(c) Respondent's conduct described above in paragraph 7(a), combined with the conduct described above in Paragraph 6, is also inherently destructive of the rights guaranteed employees by § 7 of the Act. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Specifically Says Boeing Is Free To Make "Non-Discriminatory Decisions" About "Where Work Will Be Performed." The complaint asks that the 787 production line that was moved to South Carolina allegedly for the illegal purposes of punishing Washington state workers for going on strike be moved back to Washington state. However, the complaint adds that it "does not seek to prohibit [Boeing]" from having work performed in South Carolina or anywhere else as long as Boeing does not violate labor laws in making such decisions. From paragraph 13 of the complaint:
(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. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Conservatives Say Obama Used NLRB For Cronyism And "Political Retribution"...
Napolitano On NLRB's Complaint: "Does This Mean The President Has An Enemies List? And That Boeing Is On It?" On the May 12 broadcast of Fox Business' Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano asked if the NLRB complaint against Boeing "means the president has an enemies list? And that Boeing is on it?" From the broadcast:
NAPOLITANO: Tonight on the docket, all the president's enemies. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board sanctioned the giant Boeing Corporation for building a new factory in South Carolina. Wait a minute, I thought creating jobs was a good thing? Well the NLRB is mad at Boeing because South Carolina is a right-to-work state. That means that new Boeing employees of that plant cannot be forced to join a labor union. If this factory were to be built in Washington state, near Boeing's other plants, all the employees would be required, by Washington state law, to be part of a labor union, whether they wanted to be in one or not.
Remember, labor unions are a big reason why Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008. This sounds a lot like political payback to those unions for all that support. And does this mean the president has an enemies list? And that Boeing is on it for defying the president's pro-union agenda? [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/12/11, via Media Matters]
Krauthammer: Obama Is "Paying Off The Unions" Which "Is More Important [To Him] Than A Healthy Export Economy." From Fox News' Special Report:
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER (syndicated columnist): It's a way that [Obama] wants to govern left without appearing to govern left.
KRAUTHAMMER: It's a way to go under and around the legislative system, which I think is in and of itself a travesty that three appointees backed by the union supporters are telling a huge industry where and where it cannot build a factory. This is a president who said he wants to double exports in the next 5 years, which is extremely important to any American economy, and here he is supporting, by his silence, the regulation of where the biggest exporter in our country, the Boeing company, wants to reduce its cost by building in South Carolina so it can compete with Airbus and he's undermining this, and of course, paying off the unions to him is more important than a healthy export economy. [Fox News' Special Report, 6/14/11]
Fox "Straight News" Anchor Bill Hemmer And Contributor Dana Perino Suggests Boeing Case Shows Obama Administration Is "Using Its Power For Political Retribution." From the May 11 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
BILL HEMMER: Is the White House using its power for political retribution? Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and others, raising that question. They say the government is trying to block a move that would allow aerospace giant Boeing to create hundreds of new jobs if not thousands of new jobs in the Republican-rich state of South Carolina. Listen here.
SEN. RAND PAUL [video clip]: Mr. President, do you have an enemies list? Is this decision based on the fact that South Carolina appears to be a Republican state, has two Republican senators? Is this decision based on the fact that South Carolina is a right-to-work state? Are they on your enemies list?
HEMMER: Well, Dana Perino is here to answer that, former White House press secretary for former President Bush. How you doing Dana, good morning to you.
DANA PERINO: Great, thanks for having me.
HEMMER: What do you make of that? Let's go with the big picture.
PERINO: I think that South Carolina has a point. Because would this -- had Boeing been thinking about putting this plant in North Carolina, which is a swing state, do you think for a second that this would have happened? I don't. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/11/11]
Fox's Perino: "There's No Legal Reason" For NLRB To Bring Case Against Boeing, Administration Is Just "Rewarding Their Friends". From the May 11 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
PERINO: What the NLRB is saying is that you can't expand unless you do it in like Washington state, where you have other employees. Nobody in Washington state was going to lose their jobs if they add a new job in South Carolina. President Obama, what they're doing through Craig Becker, who recess appointed at the NLRB -- so not confirmed by the Senate -- is rewarding friends. So I don't know so much if they have an enemies list, but they certainly are rewarding their friends.
HEMMER: What do you mean "reward friends?"
PERINO: Well, by -- you look at a mosaic of things. For example, the unions did not want for Boeing to be allowed to build this new plant in South Carolina. There's no legal reason. I think this was really unprecedented for this to not happen. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/11/11]
Breitbart And Bolling Agree That Boeing Case Amounts To "Thuggery." From a May 6 segment on Bolling's Fox Business show, Follow the Money, featuring Andrew Breitbart:
BOLLING: Boeing built a new aircraft plant in South Carolina and hired a thousand new non-union workers there, but the union lovers on the NLRB, National Labor Relations Board, are suing Boeing. They say, we want our piece of that pie.
BOLLING: So is the NLRB-President Obama love affair going to take down the free market project? Andrew, I've heard you say it. You've said you don't like thuggery. Isn't this an example of union thuggery?
BREITBART: Yeah. No. I didn't know that much about unions before this presidency. But what I have seen, the only people that we know who have gone to the White House hundreds of times are Richard Trumka and Andy Stern. This is a presidency that's being run by proxy by way of the unions. And it's thuggery. It's happening in battles that you see in terms of people versus people in Wisconsin, the thuggery against the Tea Party up there. I was attacked in Searchlight, Nevada by the IBEW Local 357. The Tea Party Express bus was hit by eggs as they were passing by. I'm looking at this type of thing. It's anti-capitalism. It's anti-capitalism. The idea that these people can't move their companies where they want to. And I swear, it is President Trumka. When it comes to the fiscal policies of this country, the unions are leading the charge. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 5/6/11, via Media Matters]
...And Have Said That The NLRB's Case Is A Radical And "Unprecedented" Intrusion Into Private Business
Keith Ablow: The NLRB Boeing Case "Is The End Of Freedom In America." During the June 14 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, Fox's Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and member of Fox News' "Medical A-Team" said of the Boeing case: "[Unions] are defending their turf. That is what unions do. They want to line their pockets, they want to represent their members often to the exclusion of looking at, again, reality. You have to have a business in order to employ anyone." Ablow later added: "This is the end of freedom. This is the end of freedom in America." When Fox News contributor Alan Colmes responded that Ablow's statements were "outrageous scare statements" and "crazy," Ablow responded: "They are not crazy at all." [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 6/14/11]
Charles Payne: Boeing Case Is "War On Business Type Of Agenda." Earlier in the episode, Cavuto hosted Fox Business contributor Charles Payne to discuss the economy. Payne characterized the complaint against Boeing as "anti-business, war on business sort of agenda." Directly following Payne, Cavuto hosted GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain who stated: "Neil, what's at stake is a direct assault on the free market system. What the National Labor Relations Board is doing is absolutely an attack on free enterprise and that's exactly what we don't need." Cavuto failed to correct or question either Payne or Cain on their interpretation of the NLRB Boeing case. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 6/14/11]
Washington Times Editorial: Communist Leon Trotsky "Would No Doubt Cheer Obama's NLRB." From The Washington Times:
The [NLRB] sued Boeing for opening a factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Boeing's main plant is in Washington, a state where employees have no choice but to join unions. It's also where the International Association of Machinists has struck Boeing five times in 30 years, most recently in 2008. That strike cost Boeing $2 billion and prompted longtime customers like Virgin Airways chief Richard Branson to make plans to take his business elsewhere. With the new plant, 1,000 jobs were created in South Carolina, but no union jobs in Washington were lost.
The NLRB calls that decision "an unfair labor practice" that violates the National Labor Relations Act. The Supreme Court, however, said in its 1981 First National Maintenance Corp. v. NLRB decision that the NLRA "limited the mandate or duty to bargain" of unionized firms "to matters of 'wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.'" The court also held that Congress had no expectation that the elected union representative at First National would become "an equal partner in the running of the business enterprise." Firms must be able "to reach decisions without fear of later evaluations labeling its conduct an unfair labor practice," the court concluded.
Obama's NLRB doesn't give a hoot what the Supreme Court ruled. Not only is the NLRB standing firm in its Boeing suit, but the leaked memo, which was obtained by the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky and James Sherk, also shows that the board seeks to elevate union officials to equal partners with executives in corporate boardrooms of all unionized firms.
Soviet Communist Party theoretician Leon Trotsky wrote this in 1931: "The workers need control not for platonic purposes, but in order to exert practical influence upon the production and commercial operations of the employers. ... In a developed form, workers' control thus implies a sort of economic dual power in the factory." Were Trotsky still around, he would no doubt cheer Obama's NLRB. [Washington Examiner, 5/17/11]
WSJ's Moore On NLRB Complaint: "We've Never Seen Anything Like That Before ... In The History Of This Country." From Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: In response to a controversial move by the government telling Boeing where it can and cannot create jobs, a legislative bomb: 34 Republican senators signing on to the Job Protection Act. It's a piece of legislation designed to make sure the government doesn't get into this type of business of telling businesses where to do business.
MOORE: What's really unprecedented, I would say, about this National Labor Relations Board decision is that they're basically telling a company, an American company, you have to stay in the state that you're in. You can't move your facility. And by the way, in this case, in Boeing's case, this is not even an existing facility; it's a new plant that they want to build. The NLRB is basically saying, you know what, you cannot build it in South Carolina. You have to remain in Washington. We've never seen anything like that before that I know of in the history of this country. [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 5/13/11]
Moore And Laffer: The NLRB Complaint Marks "The First Time A Federal Agency Has Intervened To Tell An American Company Where It Can And Cannot Operate A Plant." From a May 13 opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal co-authored by Moore and economist Arthur Laffer:
The NLRB's action, which Boeing will challenge at a hearing next month, is a big deal. It's the first time a federal agency has intervened to tell an American company where it can and cannot operate a plant within the U.S. It lays the foundation of a regulatory wall with one express purpose: to prevent the direct competition of right-to-work states with union-shop states. Why, as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley recently asked on these pages, should Washington have any more right to these jobs than South Carolina?
A recent New York Times editorial justified the NLRB decision by arguing that unions are suffering from "the flight of companies to 'Right-to-Work' states where workers cannot be required to join a union." That's for sure, and quite an admission. We've been observing that migration pattern for years, but liberals have denied it's actually happening -- until now. [The Wall Street Journal, 5/13/11]
George Will: NLRB Complaint Interpreted Statute "Perversely, [And] Disregarded Almost Half A Century Of NLRB And Supreme Court Rulings." From George Will's May 13 Washington Post column:
This summer, the huge Boeing assembly plant here will begin producing 787 Dreamliners -- up to three a month, priced at $185 million apiece. It will, unless the National Labor Relations Board, controlled by Democrats and encouraged by Barack Obama's reverberating silence, gets its way.
Last month -- 17 months after Boeing announced plans to build here and with the $2 billion plant nearing completion -- the NLRB, collaborating with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), charged that Boeing's decision violated the rights of its unionized workers in Washington state, where some Dreamliners are assembled and still will be even after the plant here is operational. The NLRB has read a 76-year-old statute (the 1935 Wagner Act) perversely, disregarded almost half a century of NLRB and Supreme Court rulings, and patently misrepresented statements by Boeing officials.
South Carolina is one of 22 -- so far -- right-to-work states, where workers cannot be compelled to join a union. When in September 2009, Boeing's South Carolina workers -- fuselage sections of 787s already are built here -- voted to end their representation by IAM, the union did not accuse Boeing of pre-vote misbehavior. Now, however, the NLRB seeks to establish the principle that moving businesses to such states from non-right-to-work states constitutes prima facie evidence of "unfair labor practices," including intimidation and coercion of labor. This principle would be a powerful incentive for new companies to locate only in right-to-work states. [The Washington Post, 5/13/11]
Limbaugh Uses NLRB Case to Argue That "There's A Private Sector War Going On." From Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: By the way, Ford just announced that they're building a billion-dollar plant in India. And can you blame them? If they wanted to build a plant in South Carolina, the Obama regime would sue them. Because it's a nonunion state. Look what happened to Boeing. Don't tell me there's not a private sector war going on. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/7/11]
But Experts Say Allegations, If True, Represented A "Classic" Case Of Labor Law Violations
Labor Law Professor Brudney: "Relocating Work Away From A Plant Because Of Too Much Lawful Union Activity Would Be A Classic Violation" Of Federal Labor Laws. In a telephone interview with Media Matters, James J. Brudney, the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, said: "Relocating work away from a plant because of too much lawful union activity would be a classic violation of 8(a)(3)" of the National Labor Relations Act, which makes it illegal for employers "to discriminat[e] in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization." [Phone interview with Media Matters, 5/11/11]
Labor And Employment Law Professor Fisk: If NLRB General Counsel's Complaint Is True, This Is An "Absolutely Standard Violation" Of Federal Labor Laws. 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. [Phone interview with Media Matters, 5/11/11]
Fisk: Company Violates Federal Labor Laws If It Relocates Work For Purposes Of "Seeking To Stop Workers From Engaging In Unionizing, Collective Bargaining, And Striking." Fisk also said that the case against Boeing is "all about whether the company was retaliating for the workers' decision to unionize" or engage in another protected activity like striking. She said, "It is permissible for an employer to move work to find lower wages," but it violates labor laws if they do it for the purpose of "seeking to stop workers from engaging in unionizing, collective bargaining, and striking." [Phone interview with Media Matters, 5/11/11]
Labor Law Professor Secunda: Complaint Against Boeing Shows The NLRB Is "Carrying Out Its Congressionally Mandated Mission To Protect The Right Of Workers To Engage In Concerted Activity." From a Seattle Times editorial by Marquette University Law School associate professor Paul Secunda:
The National Labor Relations Act gives workers the unequivocal right to engage in concerted activity -- including the right to strike. Boeing stated publicly that it was moving production away from Washington because its workers there previously went on strike and could go on strike again in the future.
Such comments amount to an admission from the company that it was intentionally retaliating against employees and trying to limit their rights -- a clear affront to the law that the NLRB is charged with enforcing.
At the end of the day, what we are seeing is the agency carrying out its congressionally mandated mission to protect the right of workers to engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection. The agency is simply enforcing the law, providing balance and fairness for workers and businesses alike. [The Seattle Times, 4/29/11, via Media Matters]
Labor Law Professor Hirsch: Boeing Allegations Involve A "Relatively Straightforward Case Of An Employer Punishing Workers For Striking." From a post on the Workplace Prof Blog by University of Tennessee College of Law associate professor Jeffrey Hirsch:
I've been surprised at how much attention is getting paid to the NLRB General Counsel's complaint against Boeing. Based on what I've seen, the conservative uproar to what, based on the allegations is a relatively straightforward case of an employer punishing workers for striking (with admittedly large potential economic impacts), is way out of proportion. But this editorial from the Wall Street Journal (subscription required, but if you Google the title, you can find it free) and the legislation it describes, has now entered the bizzaro stage.
As for the editorial, even taking into account the normal tenor one would expect from a WSJ editorial, I honestly don't ever remember seeing any piece of writing with so many inaccuracies. For instance, there's the title, which states that there is a Board ruling (it's just a GC complaint); the description of the remedy to shut down production in South Carolina (the GC doesn't seek that, it would just require Boeing to maintain production in Washington; and the argument that the complaint requires employers to stay in non-right-to-work states (I don't even know where to begin). Two minutes with a fact-checker would've had these cut, although that would've undermined the purpose of the editorial and its support for the legislation. [Workplace Prof Blog, 5/4/11, via Media Matters]
And The Case Was Brought By NLRB's General Counsel, Who Has Worked For Republicans And Democrats
Complaint Against Boeing Was Brought On Behalf Of The NLRB Acting General Counsel, Who Is "Independent From The [NLRB]." The complaint against Boeing was brought by a National Labor Relations Board regional director on behalf of "the Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board." As stated on the NLRB website, "The General Counsel, appointed by the President to a 4-year term, is independent from the Board." [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11] [NLRB.gov, accessed 5/19/11]
NLRB's Acting General Counsel Solomon Has Been A Career Civil Servant At The NLRB. Before being named acting NLRB general counsel by President Obama in 2010, Lafe Solomon spent nearly 30 years as a National Labor Relations Board member, working in both the general counsel's office and as a staff member for various board members. From the NLRB's website:
Lafe Solomon, a career NLRB attorney, was named Acting General Counsel by President Obama as of June 21, 2010. The Agency's top investigative and prosecutorial position, the General Counsel has supervisory authority over all Regional Offices and guides policy on issuing complaints, seeking injunctions, and enforcing the Board's decisions.
Mr. Solomon began his Agency career as a field examiner in Seattle in 1972. After taking a break to pursue a law degree, he returned as an attorney in the Office of Appeals. He transferred to the Appellate Court Branch in 1979. Two years later, he left the General Counsel side of the Agency to join the staff of former Board Member Don Zimmerman. He went on to work for another nine Board Members, including Donald Dotson, Robert Hunter, John Higgins, James Stephens, Mary Cracraft, John Raudabaugh, William Gould, Sarah Fox and Wilma Liebman. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/16/11, via Media Matters]
Five Of The Ten NLRB Members For Whom Solomon Worked Were Republicans. According to the NLRB's website, half of the NLRB board members Lafe Solomon has worked for were Republicans, including Donald Dotson, Robert Hunter, John Higgins, James Stephens, and John Raudabaugh. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/16/11]
NLRB Issued Proposal To Modernize Union Elections; Conservatives Attacked It As Trying To Establish "Quickie Elections"
NRO's Kirsanow: "NLRB's Proposed Rules Would Implement 'Quickie Elections." Former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow wrote in a post on the National Review Online blog The Corner:
In a nutshell, the NLRB's proposed rules would implement "quickie elections," a process that would allow unions to organize a workplace as easily as they could have had the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as "card check") passed.
Yet the "quickie election" rules proposed by the NLRB will shorten the time frame to a mere 10-20 days. Make absolutely no mistake: That's not enough time for even the largest and most sophisticated employers to counter what the union has been telling employees while organizing them for the last 6-8 months. The union win rate will far exceed 68 percent. [National Review Online, The Corner, 6/21/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Guest Hanretty: "This Would Absolutely Allow Unions To Do Instant Organizing." On Happening Now, former National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Karen Hanretty said:
HANRETTY: You know, this would absolutely allow unions to do instant organizing. So, in other words, they could take months of preparation to organize and hold a vote without the employer even knowing, without the employer even having the opportunity to wage their own campaign. [Fox News, Happening Now, 6/22/11, via Media Matters]
WSJ Editorial: NLRB "Delivered A Plan For 'Quickie' Union Elections Designed To Make Organizing Easier." From a Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "The Union 'Quickie' ":
When Big Labor failed to persuade even a Democratic Congress to pass "card check" legislation, it turned to Plan B: the National Labor Relations Board, which yesterday delivered a plan for "quickie" union elections designed to make organizing easier. [The Wall Street Journal, 6/22/11, via Media Matters]
Heritage Foundation Analyst At NRO: "The NLRB's Proposed Snap Elections" Are "Another Case Of The Obama Administration Putting Unions Ahead Of Workers." In a post on The Corner, Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst James Sherk wrote:
The NLRB's proposed snap elections, which Peter Kirsanow described here yesterday, are another case of the Obama administration putting unions ahead of workers. Unionization has plummeted in the private sector because very few workers want to join. Unions want to reverse that trend by denying employees an informed choice. [National Review Online, 6/22/11, via Media Matters]
In Fact, Proposal Would Establish No Time Frame For Elections
CAP's Madland: Rule Doesn't Specify Time Frame, Addresses "Roadblocks That Commonly Are Thrown Up When The NLRB Attempts To Set Up An Election." David Madland, director of the Center for American Progress' American Worker Project, wrote:
The proposed rule announced today by the National Labor Relations Board to create a standard process for union elections is an important step toward giving workers a fairer way to choose whether to form a union. The rule would reform an election process that far too often resembles Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown's foot just as he begins his kick, with scheduled elections frequently delayed or canceled and workers left flat on their backs.
This common sense proposal would standardize an inconsistent election process. The NLRB is correct when it says the proposed rule would "reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing." The proposed rule does not specify a specific time frame for elections, but rather recommends a number of changes that would help put an end to delay tactics used by employers or unions, creating a more level playing field, ensuring stability and fairness for all parties, and reducing confrontation in the workplace.
The proposed rule would address the roadblocks that commonly are thrown up when the NLRB attempts to set up an election. There is currently no limit on employers' or unions' ability to demand a pre-election hearing on most any issue, including the eligibility of employees to vote, or the scope of the bargaining unit, which can be used to delay an election. Many of these issues could be resolved after voting, and others are manufactured for purposes of delay and don't need to be resolved at all, ever. As former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein explains, "The problem has been that a party in any election case has the ability to undermine the expression of employee free choice by manipulating Board procedures to create delay." [AmericanProgress.org, 6/21/11]
NLRB: New Rules Would Eliminate A Review Process That "Almost Never Result In A Stay Of The Election." From the NLRB's "fact sheet" on the proposed changes:
Elections routinely are delayed 25-30 days to allow parties to seek Board review of Regional Director rulings even though such requests are rarely filed, even more rarely granted, and almost never result in a stay of the election.
The pre-election request for review would be eliminated, along with the unnecessary delay. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
NLRB: Current Rules Encourage "Pre-Election Litigation" Over Issues That "Ultimately May Not Need To Be Resolved." From the NLRB fact sheet:
Encourages pre-election litigation over voter-eligibility issues that need not be resolved in order to determine if an election is necessary and that may not affect the outcome of the election and thus ultimately may not need to be resolved.
The parties could choose not to raise such issues at the pre-election hearing but rather via the challenge procedure during the election. Litigation of eligibility issues raised by the parties involving less than 20 per cent of the bargaining unit would be deferred until after the election. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
NLRB: New Rules Would Require Parties To State Their Positions At Outset Of Hearings. From the NLRB fact sheet:
In contrast to federal court rules, the board's current procedures have no mechanism for quickly identifying what issues are in dispute to avoid wasteful litigation and encourage agreements.
The parties would be required to state their positions no later than the start of the hearing, before any other evidence is accepted. The proposed amendments would ensure that hearings are limited to issues resolving genuine disputes. [NLRB.gov, accessed 6/22/11]
Conservative Media Said Unions Already Win A Majority Of Elections...
Wash. Examiner: "Apparently, The Big Labor Bosses Aren't Satisfied With Winning More Than 60 Percent Of Workplace Representation Elections In Recent Years." From a Washington Examiner editorial:
The new workplace representation election rules are needed to "remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of questions concerning representation," according to the NLRB. Unions want the NLRB to severely limit or kill management's ability to oppose unionization before representation elections and to expose abusive campaign practices by union thugs after workers vote. Apparently, the Big Labor bosses aren't satisfied with winning more than 60 percent of workplace representation elections in recent years. [The Washington Examiner, 6/22/11]
NRO's Kirsanow: In Recent Years, Unions Have Won "Approximately 68 Percent Of Elections." Kirsanow wrote in a post on The Corner:
Indeed, in 2009 and 2010 unions won approximately 68 percent of elections (this does not include the number of petitions withdrawn by unions). [National Review Online, The Corner, 6/21/11]
...But Because Of The Old Election Rules, Many Union Petitions Never Make It To The Election Stage
Labor Journal Article: 35 Percent Of Union Drives Never Reach An Election. Writing in Industrial & Labor Relations Review, MIT doctoral candidate John-Paul Ferguson found that between 1999 and 2004, about 35 percent of cases in which an election petition was filed -- meaning organizers collected enough signatures to trigger the election process -- did not result in an election ultimately being held. From a chart published with his article:
[Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Vol. 62, No. 1, article 1]
Fox's Gretchen Carlson Wonders: "Are Union Teachers Brainwashing Kids?" Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson teased a segment by saying, "Are union teachers brainwashing kids with lessons in collective bargaining? Well, coming up, the man who says he has proof Big Labor is disguising liberal propaganda as homework." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/5/11, via Media Matters]
Stossel: Non-Union Fox Employees "Seem Happier," While Union Members Are "Grouchy At Work." Fox Business host John Stossel asserted that unions "improve the standard of life for union leaders, but most make it worse for everyone else," and that unions "undermine character by crushing individualism." Stossel added that the non-union studio crew at Fox News "seem happier because they can help out, they make suggestions, they're part of a life," while union members are "grouchy at work." [Fox Business, Stossel, 12/1/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Regular Jonathan Hoenig: "Unions Have Destroyed Every Company In Which They've Been Intimately Involved." Fox News contributor Jonathan Hoenig said, "Unions have destroyed every company in which they've been intimately involved." Later, Hoenig held up an Apple iPad and asked, "Could [AFL-CIO president] Richard Trumka honestly come up with this? Absolutely not." [Fox News, Cashin' In, 11/12/11, via Media Matters]
Right-Wing Media Hype Study Suggesting Public School Teachers Are Overpaid. Right-wing media have hyped a study published by conservative groups American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation that claims "public-school teachers are not underpaid in wages by private-sector standards, and they may even be overpaid." But many other studies have shown that public school teachers are paid relatively less than comparable workers, that their wages have been declining for decades, that U.S. teachers are paid less than their counterparts in most other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and that low teacher pay hurts recruitment and retention. [Media Matters,11/4/11]
Stossel Guest Ben Chavis On Teachers Unions: "I Do Prefer The Klan Over These Union Guys." On Fox Business' Stossel, controversial education activist Ben Chavis said of teachers unions: "I do prefer the Klan over these union guys because -- you know why? I know where I stand with those guy. These guys, they lie to you, they say, 'We're about the kids, all we want to do is help the kids.' They don't care about the kids." [Fox Business, Stossel, 10/20/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Varney Demonizes UAW's "Sweetheart Deal" With GM By Telling Half The Story. Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that the United Auto Workers received a "sweetheart deal" from General Motors, largely because the deal includes a $5,000 signing bonus for every worker. But Varney didn't mention that the signing bonus reportedly takes the place of cost-of-living wage increases in the deal or that the deal will reopen a Tennessee assembly plant and reduce GM's overall labor costs during the lifetime of the contract. [Fox News, America Live, 9/19/11, via Media Matters]
Coulter: Hoffa Represents "Useless" Workers Like "Kindergarten Teachers" Instead Of "Men Who Have Actual Jobs." Right-wing author Ann Coulter said that Teamsters Union president James Hoffa used to represent "truck drivers and pipe fitters. Now he's representing public school teachers, kindergarten teachers, cafeteria workers, fighting for every last bit of their government pension. What a pathetic downfall." Coulter added, "That is evidence of the decline of the nation that he's not even representing men how have actual jobs. He's representing a bunch of useless public-sector workers." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/7/11, via Media Matters]
George Will Enlists In Campaign To Repeal 20th Century With Defense Of Lochner. In his Washington Post column, Will argued that the Supreme Court "correctly decided Lochner v. New York" -- a 1905 Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York State law regulating maximum hours for bakery workers, a decision that was essentially nullified in 1936 -- and that the opinion remains "relevant to current arguments." [The Washington Post, 9/6/11; Media Matters, 9/8/11]
Fox's Huddy Asks, "Are Teachers Unions Ruining Your Kids' Education?" Fox News' Juliet Huddy teased a segment by asking, "Are teachers unions ruining your kids' education? Our next guest says yes." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/25/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Business' Kneale: "My Short Editorial: Unions Bad, Business Good." Fox Business senior correspondent Dennis Kneale said, "I'll just sum up by saying my short editorial: Unions bad, business good." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 8/12/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Bolling: Cheating Scandal Is "An Example Of Teachers Getting Too Big For Their Britches. You Gotta Break The Unions." Discussing reports that some Georgia schools had artificially raised test scores in order to meet targets, Bolling said that the scandal was "an example of teachers getting too big for their britches. You gotta break the unions." [Fox News, The Five, 7/22/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Johnson: "We Understand The Value Of Unions," But They're "Begin[ning] To Destroy A Country." Fox News contributor Peter Johnson Jr. said: "We understand the value of unions. They've done some great things over time. But when they begin to destroy a country ... we're staggered by the numbers. We can't afford what they're asking for." Johnson then advised unions to "pull back a little bit, let the others get. Let us all live. It's not all about unions. It's about all of us." [Fox News, Hannity, 6/20/11, via Media Matters]
Right-Wing Media Repeat Discredited Claims Of Union Workers Refusing To Plow Streets After Blizzard. Right-wing media, led by the New York Post, repeated unsubstantiated allegations that New York union sanitation workers deliberately failed to plow streets after a blizzard in order to protest department budget cuts. In fact, a city investigation found no evidence to support the claim. [The New York Times, 6/4/11; Media Matters, 6/7/11]
Doocy And Kilmeade Blame Unions For Jobs Moving Overseas Where "Cheaper Labor Is." In discussing why manufacturing jobs are leaving the United States for overseas, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said that "people would say that's where cheaper labor is." Co-host Brian Kilmeade added, "Without unions." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/18/11, via Media Matters]
Beck Fearmongers About Unions: "You Are Going To Be Under Threat To Lose Your Job, Lose Your Pensions, Lose Everything." On his now-canceled Fox News show, Glenn Beck said: "You are going to have powerful unions, you are going to have thugs. You are going to be under threat to lose your job, lose your pensions, lose everything for what you say and what you do. And they're not going to mess around." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 4/27/11, via Media Matters]
Wallace: If Union Is "Part Of The Problem" Of Sleeping Air Traffic Controllers, "Why Have Them Be Part Of The Solution"? Discussing incidents of air traffic controllers sleeping on the job, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood: "If the union -- and as we pointed out, that these compressed schedules to get long weekends off -- if the union is part of the problem, why have them be part of the solution?" [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 4/17/11, via Media Matters]
Fox News Uses Anniversary Of Martin Luther King's Slaying To Misrepresent King's Views On Unions. Fox News hosts Glenn Beck and Neil Cavuto attacked unions who cited Martin Luther King Jr.'s support for labor rights on the anniversary of his assassination. In fact, King was shot while in Memphis to support striking municipal workers, and that was just one example of King's support for organized labor. [Media Matters, 4/5/11]
Fox Doesn't Need To Understand Retiree Health Program To Call It A Union "Payoff." Commenting on a program created by the Affordable Care Act, Fox News' Clayton Morris falsely suggested that only states and unions received funds from the program, and Mike Huckabee called it a "political payoff" to unions. In fact, private businesses are also benefitting from the program, which temporarily helps employers provide health benefits for retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 4/2/11, via Media Matters]
Beck: "I Believe" It "Is Not Illegal" To Commit Terrorism "If You Are A Union." Discussing remarks made by union organizer Stephen Lerner that he claimed constituted "economic terrorism," Beck said on his radio show that Lerner can "get away" with making remarks because "I believe you cannot charge him with anything because it is not illegal to do those things if you are a union." Beck later said that "you could make the case that this isn't domestic terrorism, this is union organizing, that's all this is. If you get caught, you need the umbrella of and protection of unions." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 3/23/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling Calls For NFL To "Crush Collective Bargaining." Bolling wrote on his Twitter account: "Wisc Gov Walker does what the NFL should do... crush collective bargaining..." [Eric Bolling, Twitter, 3/11/11]
Limbaugh's Anti-Union Rant: Obama "Would Love" For Me To Be Known Only As "Media Employee No. 2534 At G-Schedule 4-B." In a lengthy rant against unions, Limbaugh said that under unions, "you cease being an individual" and "you end up as an employee number, which, believe me, I think is what this regime would like. I mean, Obama would love for me to be Media Employee No. 2,534 At G-Schedule 4-B, and have that be as much known about me as possible, and anybody else. Faceless, personality-less, just a bunch of cogs in a wheel, with the people running the show getting the spoils." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/4/11, via Media Matters]
Hypocritical Fox News Millionaires Attack "Six Figure" Union Salaries. In their ongoing attempt to smear unions, Fox News hosts and contributors have frequently criticized the annual salaries of union workers and union bosses. Yet most of these Fox News critics and their colleagues make several million dollars a year, while attacking union members for making considerably less. [Media Matters, 3/4/11]
Limbaugh: "Public Sector Teachers Unions Are Organized Against Us And The Children." Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show that public teachers unions are organized "against us, the taxpayers" and "when it comes to their fight against merit pay and firing incompetent teachers, they are organized against the children." Limbaugh later repeated, "The public sector teachers unions are organized against us and the children." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/2/11, via Media Matters]
Special Report Segment On Unions Featured Only Union Foes, No Supporters. A segment by correspondent Jim Angle on Fox News' Special Report on Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the controversy over his plan to heavily restrict the bargaining rights of unionized state employees featured clips of Walker and union critic James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation, but no union supporters were quoted. [Fox News, Special Report, 2/28/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Asks If Teaching Labor History Is "Pro-Union Propaganda." Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson said it "may startle you" to know that in Wisconsin, teachers are required to teach the history of the labor movement. On-screen text during the segment read, "Pro-Union Propaganda?" [fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/25/11, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh Attacked Union Workers As "Freeloaders" As Compared To "Real Working Non-Unionized People." On the February 17 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh called union workers "freeloaders" and contrasted them with "real working non-unionized people." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/17/11, via Media Matters]
Beck: "Powerful Unions Led By Communists" Want To "End The Western Way Of Life As You And I Understand It." Beck said: "What does the Young Communist League have to do with the UAW or the steelworkers? Progressive, socialist, Marxist groups, religious groups, green groups, communist, powerful unions led by communists, SEIU, AFL-CIO. Radical groups like La Raza -- what did all of these groups -- what were they all working together for? Well, in one way or another, they want to end the Western way of life as you and I understand it. They may disagree on exactly what the new way of life will be." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/7/11, via Media Matters]
Right-Wing Media Use Cropped Video To Vilify NEA. Right-wing media figures including Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh used a cropped portion of a July 2009 speech by Bob Chanin, former general counsel of the National Education Association, to suggest Chanin admitted that the union does not "care about the children." In fact, the full context of Chanin's remarks show that this was a blatant distortion of his message. [Media Matters, 2/25/11]
Bolling: "We Don't Need Unions Anymore." Bolling asserted that "the union model is broken. ... It was great in the '30s and '40s when there were sweatshops and, you know, 8-year-olds making sweaters. That's not where we are anymore. We don't need unions anymore. The union model is broken, bust. Get rid of it." [Fox News, Bulls & Bears, 1/15/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Varney Asks If California Union Workers Will Protest With "Violence In The Streets." Discussing state budget problems in California, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said, "What we're talking about is really dramatic cuts in all kinds of services. When those same kind of cuts were imposed in Europe, you had violence in the streets. Now, do you think it will come to that in California, because the unions are sure to mount some pretty nasty protests about what you think is likely to happen?" [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 1/5/11, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh On Bill To Provide Diapers To Low-Income Parents: "This Is ... Indoctrination." Discussing a proposed bill that would provide free diapers to low-income parents, Limbaugh said, "This is taking indoctrination to steps I never dreamed of. Indoctrinate babies early and often in daycare, and you get them in daycare by promising free diapers." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/21/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Charles Payne Explains Poverty: After Thanksgiving People "Take Their Welfare Checks And Bum-Rush" Walmart. On the October 3 edition of Hannity, Payne said: "After everyone's eaten their Thanksgiving meal, right, go to Walmart at midnight. You're going to see why a lot of people don't have money. They're going to take their welfare checks and bum-rush the security guard, knock him down, and give away all their money." [Fox News, Hannity, 10/3/11, via Media Matters]
Schiff: "One Of The Most Anti-Poor People Rules Is The Minimum Wage." Author and businessman Peter Schiff claimed on Fox & Friends that "one of the most anti-poor people rules is the minimum wage. It keeps people poor," adding, "And people that have no skills, it's not just worth it to hire them." In fact, studies have shown that the minimum wage has little to no effect on youth or adult unemployment rates. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/21/11; Media Matters, 8/22/11]
Fox's Stuart Varney On Low-Income Americans: "Many Of Them Have Things -- What They Lack Is The Richness Of Spirit." During the August 25 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. at Night, host Stuart Varney hyped a Heritage Foundation study showing that many Americans in poverty own appliances, saying: "The image we have of poor people as starving and living in squalor really is not accurate. Many of them have things -- what they lack is the richness of spirit. That's my opinion." [Fox Business, Varney & Co. at Night, 8/25/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Guest On Program Providing Free Cell Phones To The Unemployed To Aid In Job Search: "They're Not Looking For Work. If They Were, They Would Be Working." During a segment on the August 3 edition of America Live about a program that provides free cell phones to the poor, guest host Shannon Bream introduced the segment by calling the program "a controversial call" as the on-screen text asked whether "free cell phones" should be a "civil right." While one of Bream's guests, Gary Carter, explained the program, the other guest, "federal tax practitioner and small businessman" David Selig, responded by calling the program a "shakedown," saying that government is "extorting" companies, and opined that the people receiving the phones "don't deserve something free on the taxpayer's nickel." (In fact, universal service has been a basic tenet of federal policy since the Communications Act of 1934.) The segment concluded with Carter laying out the benefits of the program and why it is worthwhile, using the example of a low-income man who was unemployed having access to a phone through the program so that potential employers could contact him as he searched for work. Selig interrupted him: "They're not looking for work. If they were, they would be working." [Fox News, America Live, 8/3/11, via Media Matters]
Sowell Attacks "The Left" For Using Poor People As "Human Shields." Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell wrote: " 'The poor' are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever-bigger spending for ever-bigger government advance toward their goal." Sowell added, "If government programs were confined to people who were genuinely poor in some meaningful sense, that would shrink the welfare state to a fraction of its current size. The left would lose its human shields." [Washington Examiner, 8/2/11]
Limbaugh Derides People Who Rely On Social Safety Net, Suggests They're Taking A "Vacation." Limbaugh asserted that "the safety net has become a hammock," adding that "our safety net's become a vacation destination." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/17/11, via Media Matters]
Tax-Cut Crusader Varney Thinks Tax Cut For The Poor Is A "Welfare Scheme" Stuart Varney complained about the "8 million" poverty-stricken seniors and disabled people receiving benefits to help pay for basic necessities, then attacked the Earned Income Tax Credit: "I'm going to call it a welfare scheme." In fact, the EITC is a tax credit available to working low-income individuals and families, not a subsidy program like many traditional welfare programs. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/15/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Business Pitted The "Takers" Of "Government Handouts" Against The "Makers." After a National Bureau of Economic Research study concluded that social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, were highly effective at keeping people out of poverty, Fox Business launched a week-long series pitting the "takers" of "government handouts" against the "makers" in the economy. [Media Matters, 5/24/11]
Fox Business Scolded Poor People For Not Being Ashamed Of Their Poverty. During the May 19 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney attacked anti-poverty programs as evidence that the U.S. now has an "entitlement mentality." Fox commentator Charles Payne then scolded people in poverty for not being "embarrassed" about needing public assistance:
PAYNE: Krystal [Ball], there's no doubt that these are good programs. I think the real narrative here, though, is that people aren't embarrassed by it. People aren't ashamed by it. In other words, the there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on food stamps; there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on unemployment for six months, let alone demanding to be on it for more than two years. I think that's what Stu is trying to say, is that, when the president says Wall Street is at fault, so, you are entitled to get anything that you want from the government, because it's not really your fault. No longer is the man being told to look in the mirror and cast down a judgment on himself; it's someone else's fault. So food stamps, unemployment, all of this stuff, is something that they probably earned in some indirect way. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 5/19/11, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh: "Do You Know Any Low-Income People Who Want To Get A Better Job? ... Do They Even Want To Work?" On the April 21 edition of his radio show, host Rush Limbaugh said, "Do you know any low-income people who want to get a better job? ... Do they even want to work?" [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/21/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Nation Considers Obama "Reduced" By Spending Time With "Unemployed Union Workers." An October 12 Fox Nation post highlighted an Associated Press story about President Obama sharing a beer with unemployed construction workers in Florida. But unlike the AP headline, Fox Nation declared that Obama was "Reduced to Holding Beer Summits with Unemployed Union Workers," suggesting that sharing a beer with a group of American workers would somehow be beneath the President. [Fox Nation, 10/12/11; Media Matters, 10/12/11]
Limbaugh: It's "Good In Most Ways" That States Are Cutting Unemployment Because It Will "Force People To Try To Go Find Work." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said that it "ultimately is good in most ways" that some states are cutting the amount of time people can receive unemployment benefits "because it's going to finally force people to try to go find work." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]
Ben Stein Asserts That "A Lot Of" Unemployed "Would Not Prefer To Go To Work." On Fox News' Cavuto On Business, Ben Stein claimed that he "talked to social workers who are talking to people who are on unemployment or on welfare. And unfortunately, a lot of those people have become habituated to not working and just getting a handout, and they would not prefer to go to work." [Fox News, Cavuto On Business, 4/30/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Business' Payne And Cotter Disparage Unemployment Insurance Recipients. Fox Business reporter Chris Cotter noted that some retail business were hiring, adding, "What everybody says is, 'That's retail, man. That's beneath me.' Is it beneath you to take you to take welfare? What's beneath welfare? There are jobs out there." Fox News contributor Charles Payne responded, "There are jobs out there, which is why a lot of people are upset with the 99ers who believe they're entitled to certain jobs." [Fox Business' Varney & Co., 2/23/11, via Media Matters]