Katie Gage

With the White House doling out appointments, regulatory favors and other paybacks, Big Labor must be counting its blessings to have an administration in place willing to ignore the will of citizens and job creators. It does not seem President Obama feels inhibited in paying back union bosses even though his initiatives could not and would not pass in the legislature. Instead, he has taken to using unelected bureaucrats not accountable to voters to enact sweeping changes in labor laws.

All of this takes place in the context of Big Labor having spent half a billion dollars to elect Obama in the first place and hundreds of millions more in the midterm elections just a few, short months ago. So instead of engaging in public dialogue and advancing initiatives in Congress, the Obama Administration has settled on a skewed and secretive rulemaking process largely driven by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Just a year ago, we heard over and over again from union bosses that they would be able to achieve enactment of the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act. Friends of Big Labor in the Senate echoed the sentiment, confident that they would push this job-killing bill through, but small business owners and voters refused to allow it. The bill would remove workers’ rights to a secret ballot in union elections and force government-mandated contracts on employees and employers alike without their consent.

Frustrated with this failed effort, Big Labor turned its sights elsewhere and redirected its focus to the White House where they handpicked advocates to serve on the NLRB and do their bidding. It began with Craig Becker, the former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) attorney who received a recess appointment after being rejected in a bipartisan fashion by the U.S. Senate and who now refuses to recuse himself from matters directly related to and benefiting his previous employers.

Just this month, the NLRB decided in favor of union bosses in its ruling on the Dana Corporation. In this decision, employers and unions can conspire to identify the workers most easily persuaded into forming a collective-bargaining unit having them sign cards, while leaving the remaining half of the workforce without a voice or vote in the process which affects their wages, benefits and workplace rules.

In addition, the NLRB also pushed this year for electronic voting in unionization elections, which would take voting out of the workplace and introduce a myriad of potential problems – not the least of which would be coercion of workers. Factor in the high potential for fraud and it is easy to see where the NLRB’s loyalties lay – with union bosses, not workers.

As if changing the mode of voting wasn’t enough, the NLRB is now considering reversing a determination that employees have a 45-day window to file petitions for an election after being notified that the employer has recognized a union through a so-called “voluntary” card check agreement. Shortchanging workers by rushing them into a union vote and not giving them ample time to educate themselves before making a decision is just another way this government agency is paying back Big Labor.

And last week, the NLRB stated that it would require companies to publicly alert their employees of their right to unionize under Federal law, requiring postings on bulletin boards, and sometimes even calling for emails to be sent to all staff members. But there was no mention made of the right of employees to remain without a collective bargaining unit or even how to decertify one. Claiming the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 as its justification, the NLRB is taking one more jab at small business as we approach the end of the year.

Job creators will not simply look the other way and will hold to account those who advocate for job-killing policies.


Katie Gage

Katie Gage is the executive director of the Workforce Fairness institute.