Becker’s NLRB Forces Unionization Through Administrative Action

Katie Gage
September 7, 2010
Daily Caller

The function of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the primary law governing relations between unions and private sector employers.  In the past year, the NLRB has become increasingly anti-employer.  It started with the recess appointment of labor radical Craig Becker, a former attorney for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who did not receive enough support in the Senate to get confirmed.  As a result, President Obama delivered “payback” to Big Labor bosses by naming Becker to the board through a recess appointment, doing an end-run around Congress.

Shortly thereafter, Becker’s promises to advance the union boss agenda in spite of the board’s so-called “independence” began to come to fruition.  First, the NLRB made a request for information concerning electronic voting systems.  The current system of paper ballot voting is monitored at worksites.  The proposed electronic voting system would take place at some other location, making it possible for union bosses and organizers to coerce and intimidate workers.

Now, the NLRB is considering reversing a determination that employees have a 45-day window to file petitions for election or decertification after being notified that the employer has recognized a union through a so-called “voluntary” card check agreement.  Removing this requirement shortchanges workers, who have the right to educate themselves about a critical workplace decision.  This is nothing more than another form of forced unionization and a gift to labor bosses.

And while Becker claims not to have come to a conclusion in advance of hearing arguments or reviewing information on this matter, it is important to note he previously and publicly opposed allowing employees to have the right to vote against the formation of a collective bargaining unit.

And if that wasn’t enough, the NLRB is now considering allowing union representation elections to go forward even when an employers’ ability to communicate with employees about the advantages or disadvantages of unionization has been unlawfully limited, even though the unions’ ability to do the same was not minimized in any way.

The NLRB’s recent actions are in line with Becker’s written statements that employers should have no say whatsoever in the unionization process.  And even though Becker promised to serve as an evenhanded arbiter, his actions reveal his bias in favor of Big Labor’s agenda.

When Becker spoke before the Senate just a few short months ago, he said that as a member of the National Labor Relations Board he would not weigh in on matters involving his previous employers.  But he has already been mired in controversy for failing to recuse himself in the face of obvious conflicts of interest concerning cases involving the SEIU.

All these recent developments come as NLRB member Peter Schaumber’s term expires, leaving the agency with just three confirmed members, plus Becker and an open general counsel position.  These developments should raise red flags for the business community.

For small business owners, who have spent the last three years fighting passage of the job-killing Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a new threat looms: the NLRB putting in place the main components of the legislation administratively.  Union bosses have stated they expect as much from Becker, and his early performance demonstrates he is more than willing to comply.

EFCA’s goal is to ensure more unionized workplaces and therefore more dues-paying members for Big Labor bosses.  The bill would remove the right of workers to a secret ballot in union voting, forcing them to declare their support or opposition publicly on signed cards.  This method, often called “card check,” would expose workers to intimidation at the hands of labor bosses.

Another devastating aspect of EFCA is the binding arbitration clause, which would inject a government bureaucrat into employee-employer contract negotiations.  In effect, EFCA would not only strip workers of their right to vote freely on the formation of a collective bargaining unit, it would strip them of their right to negotiate contracts affecting their livelihoods.

It is becoming increasing clear that the real danger of forced unionization now lies with the unelected members of the NLRB, who could easily bypass Congress and enact components of the job-killing EFCA legislation on their own.  This concentrated power in the hands of people like Craig Becker is a threat to workers’ rights.

And while Becker may not think people are watching, he is sorely mistaken.  In fact, Becker and the other NLRB members should understand that the American people are paying close attention and will not look kindly upon those who put barriers before our nation’s job creators all in an effort to empower and enrich union bosses, while advancing their job-killing policies.

Katie Gage is the executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute.

Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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