Worker Freedoms Sidelined With Vote Against Senate Joint Resolution

Katie Gage
September 27, 2010

On occasion, Congress votes on matters that have a serious and meaningful impact on people’s lives and workplaces across the country.

Such a development took place this week when the U.S. Senate voted on Joint Resolution 30. While many Americans weren’t necessarily familiar with the details of the resolution, they certainly understood that it set aside anti-democratic and un-American decisions made by the National Mediation Board (NMB).

Recently, a NMB ruling overturned a 75 year old precedent concerning how airlines and railroads can unionize. Unelected members of an administrative agency single-handedly upended a very basic principle called “majority rule” meaning more than half of a unit must approve the formation of a union.

Under the new rule enforced by the NMB and now upheld by the Senate, only a majority of those voting are needed to form a collective-bargaining unit meaning a small number of workers decide everyone’s fate.

To illustrate this point, if 1,000 employees work for an airline, you would think that in order to unionize, you would need at least 501 votes. That’s how the system has worked until now, but under the new, pro-union boss rule, if only 400 people show up to vote and 201 vote yes, than all 1,000 employees are part of a union. This assumes anyone not voting supports unionization and is nothing more than a sop to Big Labor bosses.

The actions of the National Mediation Board and Senate run counter to America’s founding principles and force unionization on workers, while trivializing the importance of each person’s vote. With the majority rule system, union bosses would have to convince at least half of an airline or railroad company’s employees to vote in favor of changing their work status. With the NMB’s new rule, it’s possible – even likely – that labor bosses would intimidate a small percentage of employees into staying home or voting in their favor. And as long as the majority of those who show up to vote do so in support of Big Labor, the entire company must follow suit and bow to union boss contract demands.

To understand why the NMB would so blatantly force unionization on workers, one needs to look no further than the board’s makeup. The National Mediation Board consists of three presidential nominees who are not elected. Currently, there are two Democrats and one Republican serving. Their job is to minimize work stoppages and strikes in the airline and railroad industries. But their latest rule change goes so far beyond the bounds of reason that the chairman dissented writing, “the proposal was completed without my input or participation, and I was excluded from any discussions regarding the timing of the proposed rule.”

Sadly, this is just one example of many in the Obama Administration where administrative agencies are bypassing Congress and throwing Americans under the bus in favor of rewarding Big Labor bosses. To make matters worse, Congress has also joined in the effort. For example, earlier this summer, Senator Harry Reid introduced a law to unionize all public safety workers (i.e. policemen, firemen, EMT drivers) taking all negotiating power away from communities and handing it to union bosses.

Another example of the Obama Administration’s anti-jobs, anti-worker agenda is exhibited in the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Becker was the union bosses’ lawyer and believes employees and employers should virtually have no say whatsoever in the unionization process. And in spite of not being able to receive bipartisan support in the Senate, Obama delivered “payback” in the form of a recess appointment, and since then, Becker has refused to recuse himself from matters involving his previous employers despite the obvious conflict of interest.

All the while, the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA) continues to receive support from the administration and Big Labor’s allies in Congress. EFCA would cost America 600,000 jobs in one year alone and strip employees of their right to secret ballot, while also removing their right to vote on contracts affecting wages, benefits and workplace conditions. The tenants of EFCA are consistent with the National Mediation Board’s ruling, in that, worker rights are eliminated, while unionization is forced upon them.

Those in the U.S. Senate voting against worker rights told employees and employers everything they needed to know. Individual Senators like Harry Reid and Michael Bennet stood against workers and in favor of forced unionization. By voting against U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 30, Reid and Bennet forfeited any argument on their behalf in support of job creators and simply reinforced the fact that they are nothing more than Big Labor’s puppets.

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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