Workplace freedom and fairness are the cornerstone of the U.S. business environment. Workers should be free to choose how they are governed while at work, small businesses should be free to pursue opportunities that benefit all without being hindered by unnecessary and often politically motivated policies. And everyone should be treated fairly. The issues we outline below are some of the most important ones facing workers and employers today.

Ambush Elections

In April 2015, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “ambush election” rule came into effect. It allows unions to conduct certification elections on extremely tight timetables that do not allow workers enough time to review the relevant information necessary to make an informed decision. In addition, the “ambush election” rule forces employers to relinquish highly personal employee data to unions—such as phone, email, mailing address, and even when and where they do their shifts when on the job—unfairly increasing unions’ ability to influence the election process. Workers deserve better. Union vote rules should allow for the time and resources needed to make a thought-out and well-informed decision.

Micro-Unions

Under its current leadership, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) allows unions to cherry-pick workers from within a larger workforce and create so-called “micro-unions.” For example, in the first case that the NLRB allowed this practice, it gave permission to a union to organize only certain sales associates at a Macy's in Saugus, Massachusetts. This practice not only flies in the face of decades of labor law, it also means business owners face skyrocketing legal costs. Micro-unions also sow division, discord, and disharmony in America’s workplaces, and force employers to contend with so much red tape that—combined with increased legal costs—it will mean many businesses cannot survive.

Joint Employer

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) radically expanded the standard for determining who is defined as a worker’s “employer” under the National Labor Relations Act, creating so-called “joint employers,” where fully separate legal entities are classified as “joint” for union-organizing purposes if they share the liability or responsibility for one or more employees. The joint employer rule is a nightmare for small businesses, potentially dragging millions of small companies and mom-and-pop shops into costly and time-consuming labor negotiations and disputes. The “joint employer” rule will make it even harder to run a small business in the United States, crippling Main Streets across the country, and significantly damaging our economy.

NLRB Reform

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is at the heart of so many of the issues that have eroded worker and workplace freedom in recent decades. It is vital for worker choice and freedom that the Board is reigned in and balance restored to its approach to labor relations. The Workforce Fairness Institute supports the NLRB Reform Act, which would fight partisanship on the Board by increasing the number of members from five to six, and requiring an even split between Republicans and Democrats. It would also rein in the Board’s general counsels, who have in recent years pushed the limits of federal labor law to their limits and beyond. The bill would also encourage timely decision-making by allowing either party in a dispute to appeal to a federal court if a dispute runs longer than a year.

Employee Rights Act

Over the last 50 years, employee rights in the workplace have been significantly eroded. The Workforce Fairness Institute supports passage of the Employee Rights Act (ERA). This common-sense legislation will help restore balance in the workplace by guaranteeing workers the right to a secret ballot vote in union elections and in votes to determine strikes, giving employees regular opportunities to decide on continued unionization, making sure workers have a say in how their dues are used in politics, and changing the definition of “majority” in union certification votes to a majority of all impacted employees (instead of just those present). The bill also works to protect employees from intimidation and coercion, as well as their privacy.

Overtime Rule

In 2016, the Obama Administration implemented a new overtime rule, which stipulated that salaried workers making less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year) must be given overtime pay. That is almost twice the current level of $23,660. The Obama overtime rule, which went into effect on December 1, 2016, will have a major impact on how companies of all sizes conduct business, as well as significantly increase labor costs, ultimately threatening the survival of many businesses (especially small businesses) and the jobs they support. Thus far, nearly two-dozen states have filed suit to overturn the overtime rule.

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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