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.

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