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Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 01:40 am

Wrapped in Old Glory

Union-bashing government lawyer requires staff to display flag

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Untitled Document Should a top federal official who flagrantly violates the law of the land be allowed to wrap himself in the flag? That’s what a guy named Ronald Meisburg is doing. Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005 to be general counsel to the National Labor Relations Board, this former corporate lawyer has been an unabashed basher of unionization. After the labor board’s own employees voted to be represented by a union, Meisburg simply refused to bargain with the union — a weird position for someone responsible for promoting good labor relations. It gets weirder. The union took Meisburg before an administrative law judge, who ruled that his refusal to bargain violated the law. Still, the lawyer for the labor agency has refused to comply, thumbing his nose at the judge and at one of the core laws he is sworn to uphold. Now, going from weird to warped, Meisburg has decreed that the agency’s employees must carry an American flag to every gathering where they oversee unionization elections. He asserts that the presence of the flag will impress the workers who vote in these elections with the solemnity of the law. Meanwhile, this legal sharpie who doesn’t seem to like laws has laid down the law on the most picayune details of choosing, transporting, and displaying the flag. He specifies the size of the flag to be used, requires regional offices to purchase three-wheeled luggage carriers for them, mandates that agency employees undergo training on handling the flag, and provides a rigid 10-point instruction sheet on precisely how the flag, flagpole, and flag stand are to be assembled. Meisburg can wrap himself in the flag, but he can’t hide his disrespect for the rule of law and spirit of electoral freedom that the flag represents.
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author
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