With House Passage, Time For Senate To Act On Labor Legislation

Fred Wszolek
December 5, 2011

Last week, the U.S. House passed the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, legislation which reins in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). With a 235-188 bipartisan vote, the message was sent to President Obama that his unelected bureaucrats are not doing the bidding of Big Labor bosses without Congress stepping in and acting.

Now that the House has spoken, it is time for the U.S. Senate to do the same. With all the talk on Capitol Hill about jobs and economic recovery, Senators have a chance to put their money where their mouth is by supporting legislation which will disallow job-killing mandates such as “quickie” or “ambush” elections and the formation of “micro-units” (collective bargaining units with as few as two or three people that will splinter the workforce and were only created for the purpose of allowing union bosses to gain a foothold in a business).

With so many targeted Senate races in 2012, a vote in the upper chamber on the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act would be consequential in that it would allow citizens to know whether their Senators seeking re-election have placed their interests above labor’s. Also, with passage, the legislation would be sent to President Obama forcing him to make clear whether his economic intentions are genuine or nothing more than rhetoric. While I have little doubt both Obama and some of Big Labor’s supporters in the Senate would turn their backs on workers and small businesses as they seek big dollar donations from union bosses, it would be useful to get them on the record once and for all.

The arguments against common sense legislation, namely the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, are hard to come by. Obama’s labor board has proposed shortening the window for union elections from a median time of 38 days to as little as 10. The rule is anti-worker and anti-business. It would deprive the employer of a meaningful opportunity to express its views on unionization, and its employees the right to hear those views and make an informed choice. Due to the massive volume of comments the NLRB has received in opposition to this rule change they are seeking to jam through a variation of it, but the end result is largely the same, forcing workers into unions.

It’s amazing to think that the same politicians who go out and seek votes saying both sides should have the opportunity to make their arguments heard before Election Day would consider relinquishing that same basic right from employees and employers.

At its core, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act ensures that free speech of both workers and businesses are maintained and unionization is not crammed down our throats in an effort to fatten Big Labor’s coffers.

Secondly, the House-passed bill will ensure that NLRB-approved “micro-units” are not allowed to be formed as they would create a proliferation of units, which would balkanize an employer with multiple interest groups represented by different unions with different goals. The result would be work stoppages and employees drawn into disputes in which they have no interest. The multiplicity of units would dramatically increase an employer’s labor relations costs as it would have to negotiate and apply multiple collective bargaining agreements.

It is virtually impossible to argue with any intellectual honesty that either “quickie” elections or “micro-units” would create a single job. Instead, they would place additional burdens on businesses resulting in lost jobs and closures.

Therefore, job creators must not be shy about pressing leaders in the Senate to demonstrate whether they support policies that encourage economic growth and investment or whether their political allegiance rests with Big Labor and their campaign dollars. There is no middle ground here and we hope the U.S. Senate will send a very clear message to Americans which takes precedence.


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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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