Courtesy of Barack Obama’s Department of Labor.
This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.
While those who cherish what’s left of our freedoms are rightly concerned about the sacking and the blacklisting of Mozilla’s Brendan Eich, Democrats’ media-coordinated lying about and demonization of the Koch brothers, and other visible evidence of unfettered intolerance, the regulatory tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”) which has become the default modus operandi of Barack Obama’s administration continues unabated.
Three examples of the quiet despotic work being carried out by Dear Leader’s government come from the Department of Labor, where Tom Perez succeeded the scandal-plagued Hilda Solis last year.
One lightly reported element of Obama “equal pay” initiative — an effort which is based on an objectively false premise, and which the press almost joyfully admits is primarily about motivating uninformed voters — is an “executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation.”
This unwanted and harmful interference with a common and time-tested employer practice is bad enough. What’s far less well-known and far worse is that Obama has, in USA Today’s words, also told Perez to “to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race.” DOL says this information will “encourage voluntary compliance with equal pay laws” and enable “more targeted enforcement.” Trust me; the latter is far more important than the former.
This information will provide a handy litigation roadmap for DOL and Eric Holder’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It will also be a bonanza for trial lawyers, who will immediately demand this information in discovery any time they bring a pay-related legal action. Most trial lawyers “just so happen” to favor leftist candidates and causes. There is one problem which I expect the judicial system will blow off: The only way to ensure that the submitted data is complete and probative would be to force each and every employee in America to declare their race, a provision which is currently optional. I would suggest that every job applicant alarmed by this development should henceforth exercise their option to not disclose. Those who are currently employed should see if they can undo any previous disclosure.
Further interfering with employer prerogatives, Richard Griffin, who is general counsel at Perez’s National Labor Relations Board, intends “to give unions a veto over a unionized employer’s decision to relocate.” Predictably, he plans to achieve his goal through subterfuge:
Griffin’s guidance will be to order an employer to be prosecuted not on the basis of what the law is but on the law as Griffin would like it to be. This will give the board an opportunity to change the law (though the change will be prospective — the employer who is prosecuted will not be punished for violating the new rule).
Finally, DOL’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has begun to implement an interpretation which should have set off alarm bells when it was first disclosed a year ago, and clearly didn’t:
The new interpretation from Richard Fairfax, Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSHA, to Steve Sallman, Health and Safety Specialist with the United Steelworkers Union, asserts that OSHA’s standard for Representatives of Employers and Employees allows workers at establishments without collective bargaining agreements to designate outside representatives or union agents to represent them during OSHA inspections.
This ruling contradicts the plain language of OSHA’s governing regulation …
As if they care.
Earlier this week, Greta Van Susteren, in an otherwise informative report, allowed OSHA to falsely claim that “allowing non-employee third party representative to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk around inspections is not a new OSHA policy … if that third party representative is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation.” Exactly how can a planted union “representative,” i.e., thug, who probably hasn’t done related or even any blue-collar work in years, possibly be of any assistance?
Van Susteren interviewed CEO Brent Southwell of Professional Janitorial Service, whose company has over 1,000 employees. Despite no employee-initiated complaints and “26 years without a single OSHA write-up,” Southwell disclosed that OSHA had recently visited him three separate times, in each instance accompanied by a representative of the Service Employees International Union. How oddly coincidental it is that PJS “is currently suing SEIU for $9 million” for alleged slander.
These actions, all of which appear to be inevitable and/or unstoppable, make a mockery of the administration’s oft-professed interest in economic growth. The prediction of a former NLRB chairman about its new “can’t relocate” rule really applies to all three DOL moves: They “will hasten those companies’ demise and harm the economy.”
Why would any sane person run a company or hire any or more employees in this hostile environment? A partial answer that question is that fewer Americans are choosing to start up new businesses, and those who do are deciding not to put anyone besides their founders on the payroll. The small firm start-up rate in recent years has been miles below where it was in the 1980s, and employment growth at such firms has been painfully slow.
Another online site recently noted that if its budget was seen as a separate economy, the federal government would be the third-largest in the world. Of course, the problem with seeing Uncle Sam’s enterprise as an economy is that it produces very little of value beyond providing national security, which is naturally where this administration is cutting military and diplomatic corners. Despite the Keynesians’ claims, sending out $2 trillion in entitlement checks per year is not an economy-advancing enterprise.
In such a vast organization, it’s not unreasonable to believe that a great deal of despotic behavior is going undetected. To cite just one accidentally discovered example, who would have known about EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz’s preemptive, evidence-free war on fracking if he hadn’t been caught on tape in 2012 telling an audience of coworkers that his regulatory philosophy was to “crucify” and “make examples of” alleged environmental offenders?
Unfortunately, too many on the right who should be monitoring internal developments and screaming when abuses are found, especially in Congress, have shown that they’re more interested in reelection and building their coffers than in the blocking and tackling inherent in their assigned oversight roles.
Thus, while only suffering minor setbacks from time to time, the regulatory tyranny advances.