The Holder Justice Department raided Gibson Guitar facilities in Nashville and Memphis this week because the company is using unfinished wood from India and this violates Indian law… Not American law.
Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.
It isn't the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian's ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."
Last year, Dick Boak, director of artist relations for C.F. Martin & Co., complained to Mother Nature News about the difficulty of getting elite guitarists to switch to instruments made from sustainable materials. "Surprisingly, musicians, who represent some of the most savvy, ecologically minded people around, are resistant to anything about changing the tone of their guitars," he said.
You could mark that up to hypocrisy—artsy do-gooders only too eager to tell others what kind of light bulbs they have to buy won't make sacrifices when it comes to their own passions. Then again, maybe it isn't hypocrisy to recognize that art makes claims significant enough to compete with environmentalists' agendas.
Commenters yesterday wondered whether Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is a Republican donor. Yep, he is. It also turns out that Chris Martin IV, the CEO of Gibson competitor, C.F. Martin and Company, is a long-time donor to Democrats. C.F. Martin uses the same “questionable” Indian rosewood in its guitars, but has the federal government raided a C.F. Martin factory? Didn’t think so. Juszkiewicz said yesterday he feels like this is a personal attack. Could it be because it is?...It’s also worth noting that the U.S. is a “trivial” importer of rosewood from India and Madagascar. According to Hinderaker, 95 percent of it goes to China. So, the whole “it’s for the trees” argument doesn’t really hold up.
But if it turns out that the Indian rosewood in question is illegal contraband in the eyes of Obama’s DOJ, then Michelle Obama is just as guilty of trafficking in it as Gibson. In 2009, Michelle Obama gave [French First Lady] Carla Bruni-Sarkozy a Gibson guitar with a fretboard made of the material...According to a list of the gift’s specs at Gibson.com, the fretboard was made from a “choice piece of Indian rosewood.”
Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two U.S states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers that make membership, payment of union dues, or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring, thus requiring the workplace to be an open shop.
Prior to the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act by Congress over President Harry S Truman's veto in 1947, unions and employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act could lawfully agree to a closed shop, in which employees at unionized workplaces must be members of the union as a condition of employment. Under the law in effect before the Taft-Hartley amendments, an employee who ceased being a member of the union for whatever reason, from failure to pay dues to expulsion from the union as an internal disciplinary punishment, could also be fired even if the employee did not violate any of the employer's rules.
The Taft-Hartley Act outlawed the closed shop. The union shop rule, which required all new employees to join the union after a minimum period after their hire, is also illegal. As such, it is illegal for any employer to force an employee to join a union.
A similar arrangement to the union shop is the agency shop, under which employees must pay the equivalent of union dues, but need not formally join such union.
Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act goes further and authorizes individual states (but not local governments, such as cities or counties) to outlaw the union shop and agency shop for employees working in their jurisdictions. Under the open shop rule, an employee cannot be compelled to join or pay the equivalent of dues to a union, nor can the employee be fired if he joins the union. In other words, the employee has the right to work, regardless of whether or not he is a member or financial contributor to such a union.
The Federal Government operates under open shop rules nationwide, though many of its employees are represented by unions.