Time For The NLRB To Put Aside The Nonsense

Katie Packer
June 30, 2010

In the last several weeks, one element of labor policymaking has come into great focus. It is clear that Big Labor bosses understand there is not sufficient support among elected officials to enact their job-killing agenda. Therefore, they have begun a concerted effort to push forward elements of forced unionization through the executive branch generally and administrative agencies specifically, namely the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Recently, there has been quite a bit of activity around the NLRB. The Supreme Court ruled that the agency could not operate with only two members. While many Americans may not be familiar with the NLRB, it does have an important role to play in administering to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which governs relations between unions and employers in the private sector.

The reason the agency was operating with an insufficient number of members was that some in Congress had decided to play politics and refused to move forward with the previous administration’s nominees irrespective of whether they were acceptable or not. And now, the Senate has worked to secure confirmation votes for labor radicals like Craig Becker whose allegiance is clearly to his former employers at Big Labor. He believes workers and employers should have virtually no say whatsoever regarding the unionization of their own businesses.

And when Becker didn’t have sufficient bipartisan support in the Senate to obtain confirmation, the White House delivered “payback” to labor bosses in the form of a recess appointment.

That takes us to the point where we find ourselves. The Senate last week confirmed Mark Pearce and Brian Hayes to the National Labor Relations Board, so the administrative agency is now fully staffed.

So, what’s on its docket?

The NLRB recently made a request for information concerning electronic voting systems. On the surface, this may not seem like something that should warrant great concern, but a more careful examination exposes what could be troubling motives. Electronic voting means workers could vote outside of their place of employment, even outside the supervision of the NLRB, and the method would open them up to intimidation and coercion at the hands of union bosses and organizers.

Over the past year, we’ve been tracking how Big Labor has worked desperately to secure passage of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA), which eliminates the secret ballot exposing workers to harassment and bullying. Offsite electronic voting is just another means to expose employees to undue pressure and force unionization on employers irrespective of whether it results in lost jobs or not.

Once again, politics was what resulted in the NLRB having only two members and the Supreme Court ruling its decisions were to be remanded back to the agency. And politics appears to be the driving force behind changing the method of voting in union elections, which clearly hurts workers and rewards Big Labor bosses.

But the political developments surrounding the NLRB don’t stop there. A group of law professors recently submitted an amicus brief regarding matters before the National Labor Relations Board. They are advocating for radical policies, such as “members-only” union recognition whereby collective bargaining would take place at a small business when less than a majority of workers support the formation of a union.

First off, for years, labor bosses and their allies in academia have worked and argued against right-to-work laws, which prohibit agreements between employers and unions making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of that employment.

Now, these same union boss sympathizers – in the height of hypocrisy – appear to be arguing that employers must bargain with small portions of the workforce – that do not have majority support – concerning wages and benefits as a condition of maintaining their employment.

Secondly, why should a job creator concern himself or herself with what these law professors believe? How many jobs have they created? How much revenue have they generated for the U.S. Treasury?

The developments surrounding the NLRB have moved from concerning to downright ridiculous.

As November’s elections draw closer, we are certain that the pressure Big Labor is feeling will only increase, as will their efforts to force unionization on employees and employers. In Arkansas’ runoff election earlier this month, voters clearly expressed an unwillingness to go along with an agenda that is anti-jobs and anti-small businesses. And that’s exactly what Big Labor and its allies are trying to institute at the National Labor Relations Board.

While members of the NLRB do not seek election and re-election before the voting public, those who nominate them certainly do.

It would be wise for members of the administration and supporters of Big Labor’s job-killing agenda on Capitol Hill to heed the message sent by voters in Arkansas.

The NLRB should focus on doing its job in an evenhanded and fair manner and put aside the nonsense being espoused by the union bosses at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU); otherwise, the jobs affected may be those of their allies in the White House and Congress.

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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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