February 9, 2017
The Trump administration has wasted no time rolling back several of the onerous Obama-era regulations that have stifled employee freedom, crippled economic growth and hurt small businesses alike. Indeed, President Trump’s executive order directing his federal agencies that for every new federal regulation implemented, two others must be rescinded was a good one – signaling seriousness to keep his campaign promises to roll back government overreach and cut through bureaucratic red tape.
However, there’s one crucial step President Trump should take immediately to ensure his campaign promises become reality, and that’s to appoint two new, pro-business board members to fill the two vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The NLRB, established decades ago by the National Labor Relations Act, was intended to be an unbiased arbiter of labor disputes, ensuring our nation’s workers were protected from unfair labor practices and enforcing the Act, while remedying violations. However, over the past several years, the NLRB has been unapologetically pro-union, carrying out Big Labor’s bidding while nationally, union membership has been in drastic decline as Americans turn their backs on union bosses.
We saw their pro-union bias in many decisions – from ambush elections to the recognition of micro-unions to the Joint Employer Standard. Speeding up union elections and eliminating the minimum 25-day period to allow employers time to prepare was a gift to labor bosses and originally thought to increase union wins. Micro-unions were another “gimmie,” redefining the traditional bargaining unit so that subgroups of a workplace could unionize when other attempts had failed. But perhaps no decision has sowed confusion and rocked the business community as much as the Joint Employer Standard, which redefined the employer-employee relationship, holding companies accountable for potential labor-law violations by their franchisees or contractors.
It’s been a tumultuous time for small businesses. Never before in history have we had a more activist, partisan NLRB – who cumulatively upended over 4,500 years of established labor law, according to a recent study conducted by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and the Workplace Policy Institute. The past eight years have seen the overturning of 91 precedents, and, “In each case where the Obama Board changed the law, the resulting new law became more favorable to labor interests than it did under previous Board rulings – frequently at the expense of promoting stable bargaining and economic growth and without regard for balancing the interests of business, labor and employees,” according to the study.
That’s why it’s so important to get new board members appointed, and soon. President Trump has named Republican board member Philip Miscimarra Acting Chairman, a tenured board member who has been a tireless advocate for pro-employer and employee policies that protect workplace freedom and America’s workforce. But he needs support in order to get to work restoring established labor law and advocating for the people’s interests, as opposed to union bosses’.
With Democrats in the U.S. Senate obstructing the President’s agenda at every turn, taking far longer than the historical norm to even confirm the President’s Cabinet nominees, it’s crucial these picks don’t get embroiled in the fight and controversy. That’s why we’re calling on President Trump to use his power to quickly name two Republican appointments to the board and leverage his bully pulpit to get them confirmed.
Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).