Large, crafty American corporations helped cause the nation’s Great Recession, and then many of them got bailed out by taxpayers. Very few of those corporations – think Goldman Sachs – have been held accountable for their actions. So maybe it’s not surprising that corporations and their lobbyists are quickly back to their tired machinations of doing everything to solidify the status quo, which means free reign to make gobs of money by bilking consumers and hobbling the rights workers while remaining above the law.
Take for example the hue-and-cry emanating from rightwing lawmakers and pundits over the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recent decision to lodge a complaint against Boeing for appearing to retaliate against workers at its Washington State plant once they announced plans to strike. Part of the complaint accuses of Boeing of establishing a nonunion production outfit in South Carolina to retaliate against the unionized workers in Washington State.
The NLRB is an independent agency charged with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which makes it illegal for corporations to retaliate or discriminate against workers who engage in lawful activity, such as striking. A trial before an Administration Law Judge is set for June. But the rightwing and its enablers in Congress have launched a tirade against the NLRB, including threats to demolish the agency.
American Rights at Work Executive Director Kimberly Freeman Brown notes in this post for The Hill’s Congress Blog, “Regardless of the facts, GOP legislators are using the case as an excuse to advance their ongoing attack on the NLRB. Politicians like Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have made repeated attempts to defund and dismantle the agency, and this is just the latest opportunity to do the work of their corporate donors by tearing down protections for workers.”
The Boeing case is yet another effort of rightwing policymakers to trample obstacles in the way of corporations from expanding their power at the expense of consumers and workers. As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi notes in a recent article, “The People vs. Goldman Sachs,” a comprehensive report from Sen. Carl Levin and a subcommittee lays out the brutal facts: Goldman Sachs stole “more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers,” and then went before the Senate “took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.”
In a recent editorial, The New York Times said the NLRB’s action against Boeing “is a welcome effort to defend workers’ rights to collective bargaining.”
“At the very least,” the editorial concluded, “this case will shed light on the business strategies employed by a powerful company to resist unionization.”