Senators Will Soon Have An Important Choice Affecting Millions Of American Workplaces

Fred Wszolek

3/12/2012 3:17:00 PM - Fred Wszolek

In the coming weeks, S.J. Res. 36, a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act will come to the floor of the U.S. Senate. If passed in both houses of Congress and signed by President Obama, this resolution of disapproval will nullify the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recent rule amending its election procedures limiting the ability of employers, particularly small businesses, to obtain the legal counsel and fair representation they need to express their views on unionization. The new rule is deeply unfair. It deprives workers of their right to hear all views and make an informed choice during organizing elections ensuring the only story they hear is the union one.

This reckless “ambush” election rule rushes employees into making an uninformed decision on an issue that is critically important to their livelihoods. It makes a mockery of secret ballot elections. Business owners will struggle to get access to the resources they need to make a fair case against paid, professional union organizers. As a result, both the U.S. House and Senate have sought to rein in the out-of-control agenda of government bureaucrats in the Obama Administration by acting under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows either body to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval, which would stop a rule or regulation promulgated by a federal agency. The CRA requires a simple majority, must be acted upon during a 60-day window and has the full force of law once passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Therefore, the stage in set in the United States Senate for a very rare vote on a must pass legislative item dealing with basic fairness during union elections in American workplaces. The new NLRB “ambush” election rule affects millions of employees and employers and gags them by closing the window for elections from the median time of just over a month prohibiting businesses from obtaining legal assistance to ensure they can adequately adhere to complex labor laws. The new rule is anything but fair as employers may not have the resources to communicate their side of the story in time, while union organizers with financing and legal expertise would have been working in some cases for months or years to establish a collective bargaining unit.

The vote against the Obama labor board’s “ambush” election rule will send an important message to government bureaucrats insistent on doing the bidding of Big Labor bosses that the Congress will not stand by and watch as they eliminate worker freedoms in support of job-killing policies that reward a special interest that invested half a billion dollars in the 2008 elections and is seeking to match that in 2012.

The NLRB has undertaken a radical agenda including giving union bosses who have a long history of violence and intimidation the personal contact information of workers including their home addresses and phone numbers. It’s simply wrong to disclose fundamentally private information to labor organizers without the permission of the worker as they will be put at risk and exposed to extortion and coercion. Also, there are no guarantees that employee information won’t be sold to others. No one other than employers who were provided the information for situations such as emergencies has a right to such personal information. Importantly, the joint resolution of disapproval will ensure current law is maintained meaning employers will not be forced to provide proprietary information such as email addresses to union organizers within two days of a petition being filed.

Next, the NLRB supports the formation of “micro-unions,” which would create division, discord and disharmony in American workplaces as these little unions would negotiate against one another, while business owners would become entangled in an expensive mess of union red tape and competing demands. Once workplaces are infiltrated with multiple collective bargaining units made up of as few as two employees, the human resources, legal and administrative costs would be so great that many employers would be forced to close or risk insolvency.

The time is quickly approaching where members of the upper chamber will demonstrate to their constituents where they stand on unfair labor laws that increase unemployment and force workers into unions. The “ambush” election rule doesn’t even allow employees or employers the opportunity to defend themselves against union drives executed by expert labor organizers seeking to boost their dues-paying membership and increase their political power. In closing the window for workplace elections, employers simply won’t have the time and resources to seek and obtain counsel in an effort to fairly represent their side, while workers will be pressured into making a life-changing decision affecting their livelihoods without the necessary information. The Workforce Fairness Institute, our members and supporters, and business groups across the nation will be watching how Senators vote this spring on the joint resolution of disapproval undoing the NLRB’s “ambush” election rule.