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Reining in the Regs

Over the past eight years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken dramatic, unprecedented steps to expand their reach and control over American workplaces. Unilateral decisions made by the Board are slowly but surely chipping away at the foundation of America’s small businesses, the backbone of the U.S. economy.

However, the new Administration has an opportunity to reverse this damaging trend and correct harmful government policies and regulations that tie employers’ hands of and erode workers’ rights.

Below, we look at a few of the most damaging NLRB decisions that should be among the first wave of rollbacks for the new Administration.

Joint Employer Rule Burdens Small Businesses

In August 2015, the NLRB handed down a ruling that radically expanded the standard for determining who is defined as an employer under the National Labor Relations Act.

The move by the NLRB mandates that fully separate legal entities can be classified as “joint employers” for union-organizing purposes if they share liability or responsibility for one or more employees. This rule is a nightmare for small businesses and mom-and-pop shops nationwide, potentially resulting in costly and time-consuming labor negotiations and disputes.

The harmful joint employer rule is currently under appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Micro-Unions Stifle the Workplace

The NLRB has also extended to union allies the ability to cherry-pick specific employees out of the larger workforce to create so-called “micro-unions.”

Under this model of unionization, unions could target only certain workers—for example, only sales associates at a department store or only custodial workers at a tech firm. Micro-unions undermine the American workplace by:

  • Saddling business owners with skyrocketing legal costs
  • Sowing division, discord, and disharmony among workers and employers
  • Forcing many businesses to shut down due to increased costs and additional red tape

Micro-unions fly in the face of decades of labor law. It’s time to roll back this dangerous practice.

Ambush Elections Put Undue Pressure on Workers

In April 2015, the NLRB instituted a rule allowing unions to conduct union-organizing elections on extremely short timelines—as short as 11 days. This shortened time frame does not allow workers adequate time to review their options and learn more so that they can make an informed decision.

What’s worse, the “ambush election” rule forces employers to hand over highly personal employee information—including phone numbers, email and mailing addresses, and even shift schedules—to unions, allowing union organizers even greater power to influence the election process.

Workers deserve better this. If a union is truly in their best interest, then what is the harm in allowing them more time to consider their options and learn more?

Changes Ahead

The new Administration—and President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, Andy Puzder—have a lot of work ahead of them to correct the trajectory of the NLRB and protect American businesses, employers, and employees. Rolling back these three disastrous rules would be a good first step.

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    June 19, 2018
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