Do Bureaucrats Know Better Than You? The NLRB Thinks So

Katie Gage
January 23, 2011

In a democracy, the will of the voter is the ultimate mandate. Those elected to public office are the servants to the electorate, and by extension, this is true for the bureaucrats appointed and nominated by those same officials.

But all of this seems to be lost upon the members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Whether it’s the board chairman, Wilma Liebman who previously worked for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters or Craig Becker who was previously on the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) payroll, their allegiance appears to be with union bosses, not the American people.

What has become abundantly clear is that the NLRB serves as an advocacy arm of Big Labor, instead of an independent agency charged with administering to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). It is difficult to read anything else into the activist conduct now stemming from the little known agency.

Recently, in spite of the fact that the secret ballot is part of our history and revered in free societies, the NLRB has seen fit to threaten states with legal action for defending it. These bureaucrats seem to forget that they were nominated by and serve under a President who won election on a secret ballot vote and their agency is overseen by a Congress whose members are elected with private balloting.

Furthermore, their actions seem to contradict the words and sentiments expressed by President Obama, just this week. In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Obama wrote, “Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business – burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.”

In threatening to sue Arizona, Utah, South Dakota and South Carolina for passing amendments to their constitutions guaranteeing the right to a secret ballot in union elections, the NLRB is ignoring the will of the voter and rigidly adhering to the demands of Big Labor.

Union bosses have been unambiguous concerning what they expect from the NLRB. Last year, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka’s right hand operative, Stewart Acuff wrote, “It [sic] we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action…”

And just as there is a great degree of clarity with regard to the NLRB’s motivations, there is an equal amount of transparency with respect to where voters stand. In South Dakota, for instance, over 79% of people supported the secret ballot amendment. In South Carolina, that number grew to 86.2%. And in both Arizona and Utah, the measures passed with significant majorities with more than six in ten supporting.

Few – if any initiatives – are able to gain the endorsement of eight or nine out of ten people, but support for the secret ballot did just that.

And that leads to the question, why is the NLRB actively undermining the expressed will of the voters in these states?

It comes back to the ideology of labor radicals like Becker who believe bosses – not workers – should have the say in whether a workplace is unionized. The best known iteration of this idea is the job-killing Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA) where voting would be done without any privacy by signing a public petition card exposing workers to intimidation and coercion.

The NLRB’s actions are the equivalent of a Big Labor bail out and demonstrate complete disregard for the intentions of Americans attempting to protect basic rights, while also working to weather a very challenging economy. Preventing states from protecting their workers sets the precedent and lays the foundation for passing card check through the bureaucracy’s backdoor, which the agency has already demonstrated significant interest in accomplishing.

The voters in Arizona, Utah, South Dakota and South Carolina have spoken. The members of the NLRB should ask themselves who they work for, the American people or Big Labor bosses?

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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