Fred Wszolek

Just a few short weeks ago, the Washington metropolitan area was preparing for Hurricane Irene and the strong winds and rainfall accompanying the storm. Most parents and homeowners were running around town picking up batteries, buying flashlights and purchasing water in the event there were significant disruptions in power. Yet, in a little known agency stocked with unelected bureaucrats carrying out an agenda dictated by Big Labor bosses and faithfully executed by President Obama’s Administration, members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) worked feverishly over the weekend to complete new regulations on workers and small businesses that will increase unemployment and economic distress.

The agency, supposedly “independent” and founded to help administer to relations between employers and unions in the private sector has become an advocacy arm of union bosses. Unable to enact their radical, job-killing agenda in Congress, Big Labor has co-opted a regulatory agency within the executive branch to do its bidding. The results speak for themselves as this past week, the NLRB issued a number of decisions which will make it harder for existing businesses to keep the lights on, and certainly make future employers think twice before they invest time and energy into an enterprise the government is more interested in exploiting than growing.

Among the NLRB’s decisions, Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile radically alters how collective bargaining units are defined in every industry despite the dishonest claim made by Obama’s labor board in its press release that they “did not create new criteria for determining appropriate bargaining units outside of health care facilities.” The new standard mandates that the only requirement to form a unit is a “community of interest” meaning the tight ends on a football team could constitute a unit, while the offensive linemen or wide receivers would constitute separate units. The NLRB makes it nearly impossible for employers to expand the pool of individuals in the so-called “community of interest” as the employees outside the unit would need to meet an arbitrary threshold classified as an “overwhelming community of interest.” The practical effect of this is that under one employer’s roof, multiple mini-units could be formed resulting in dramatically increased labor relations costs due to the proprietor having to bargain with multiple units negotiating against one another. As one reads this, an obvious question comes to mind, how does this create one job? It does not and demonstrates the Obama Administration is in the business of promoting unions over worker concerns, instead of working to reduce unemployment and turn the economy around.

The Specialty Healthcare decision was accompanied by another, which serves as an attack on employees as much as it represents a complete disregard for the will of the Congress. Lamons Gasket disallows workers the right to challenge their employer’s recognition of a union through card check. It happened with no empirical evidence supporting the NLRB’s reversal of bipartisan precedent. To the contrary, according to the regulatory agency’s own statistics unions lost only 25% of the employee challenges, yet government bureaucrats ignored the facts and stacked the deck in favor of their friends in Big Labor. Congress recently refused to even consider the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA), which would have instituted card check and done away with the secret ballot, so in response the executive branch goes about doing the bidding of union bosses undercutting a co-equal branch of government.

And Obama’s labor board didn’t stop there, for good measure it decided it would bar employee challenges to an incumbent union when there is a change in ownership in the UGL-UNICCO case. The results were the same as the previous two in that government sought and found a way to force unionization any way it could, with labor bosses winning, and workers and small businesses losing. In its decision, the NLRB claimed the finding was necessary to preserve labor relations stability, yet in reality, the decision was reached due to the threat posed to collective bargaining units from mergers and acquisitions where workers voluntarily decide against directing dues to Big Labor.

These three decisions, which are unbelievably destructive to employers, follow a well-worn path under former NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman’s tenure. For instance, the board recently decided to force employers to post notices in workplaces regarding union formation with no information on union decertification and worker rights concerning dues allocation. And the general counsel’s office is not any different having issued a complaint against Boeing for building a facility in a right-to-work state, and suing Arizona and South Dakota for passing constitutional measures defending and protecting the secret ballot.

The truth is plainly clear, labor agencies, which also include the National Mediation Board and Department of Labor have declared war on American workers and businesses just as the president’s re-election gears up and Obama seeks hundreds of millions from Big Labor.

In the end, our unemployment rate will continue to hover around double digits, workers will suffer and employers will cease to exist as the regulatory calamity stemming from decisions reached by Obama’s NLRB has made for a very different kind of disaster. The only hope job creators have is that Congress steps to the plate and undoes the handouts to labor bosses at the hands of the president’s job-killing regulatory agency.


Fred Wszolek

Fred Wszolek is a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).