"Reform the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)!"
This is the battle cry from Americans for Limited Government (ALG), which has launched a new petition drive aimed against administrative activity that substitutes for legislation. Concerned citizens can contact their elected representatives using www.reformthenlrb.com petition advocacy tool. The campaign has been set up to provide citizens with a voice opposing the NLRB's efforts to push a Big Labor agenda that could not pass Congress in a straight up and down and vote.
"This is a call to the American people to reject the job killing NLRB's one-sided attack on our nation's job creators," ALG President Bill Wilson said. "We need the help of everyone to show the NLRB that the American people are tired of their job-killing regulatory overreaches and want a change."
In June, the three Democrats who sit on the Board proposed rule changes that would curtail the amount of time for private union elections. Brian Hayes, the only Republican member of the board, has been sharply critical of the proposal, but his input has been limited.
If the rule changes go into effect, they would set elections from a current median time of 37 days to as little as 10 days from the filing of an election petition. They would also set pre-election hearings for 7 days after a petition is filed; the rules would also require the employer to respond to a pre-hearing questionnaire raising any legal issues or waive its right to do so. And finally, the new rules would defer a decision on the issues raised at the hearing till after the election, putting an employer at risk if the decision is challenged.
"Quickie elections would short circuit employers' ability to give employees all the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to unionize," said Glenn Spencer, executive director of the U.S. Chamber Workforce Freedom Initiative. The NLRB's proposal would tip the legal balance in favor of union organizers that can recruit employees for weeks or months under the radar before an employer even knows what's going on."
The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) has asked that the board extend the period for public comments on the rule change from August 21 until Nov. 19. WFI is asking for an additional 15 days for responsive comments that would begin on Nov. 21 and to postpone the planned July 18-19 public hearings to a date at least 30 days after the proposed comments period ends.
"The Board's deliberations were not noticed nor was there a public Board meeting," WFI's Fred Wszolek said. "And the Board never solicited input from the affected parties before the proposed rules were announced."
On Thursday, U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing entitled "Rushing Union Elections: Protecting the Interests of Big Labor at the Expense of Workers' Free Choice."
Larry Getts, an employee of the Dana Corporation offered testimony on the Board's "Ambush Election" proposal.
"Based on my experience with union organizers, it is clear to me that the rule changes the National Labor Relations Board has proposed would only further the interests of union officials while undermining those of workers," he told committee members.
Although he was initially inclined to support unionization efforts at his company, Getts became disillusioned with the approach of United Auto Workers (UAW) officials and grew skeptical of their claims, he explained in testimony. The UAW began a "card check" organizing drive at his plant in October 2007.
On a routine basis, Getts said he and his co-workers would find UAW officials waiting for them in their break room, they would be followed out to their vehicles, and in some instances they were even followed home.
"Union organizers have an uncanny ability to harass, misinform, mislead and manipulate in pursuit of their goals," Getts said. "...Of course, much of what they told us proved to be false, but it's fair to say we weren't lacking information from the union officials. What neither my co-workers, nor I knew at the time, was that the company was under a so-called ‘neutrality agreement.' This meant that the only information we were allowed to receive, the only side of the story we were told, was that of the UAW."
As bad as the mistreatment, harassment and intimidation was, the situation will likely get worse if the proposed rule changes go into effect because union officials will have access to workers' personal information, he pointed out. This would include home addresses, emails and phone numbers.
After doing their own research, Getts said he and his co-workers rejected the UAW's unionization offer. But going forward, it will be difficult for workers to obtain the information needed to make an informed choice if the Board has its way.
"In reality, under these rules, the additional burden on already busy workers will prohibit them from making an informed decision - especially where there is an absence of information from employers, as was the case in my experience," he said. "These rule changes are aimed at furthering the interests of Big Labor at the expense of workers' ability to make a fully informed decision on an important matter. They are intended only to make it easier for union officials to harass and force workers like myself into joining their union, into paying dues and increasing the union bosses' power."