Katie Gage

There is an agency in Washington, D.C. that is aggressively pursuing a plan to increase union power to the detriment of legitimate management and employee interests including the interests of the our country’s principal job creators, small business. Instead of fairly interpreting and enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the agency is reversing decades of its own precedent. Ignoring its intended role – to be an independent agency of the Executive Branch – the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is fulfilling our earlier predictions that it would be nothing more than an extension of Big Labor. We now know what the leaders of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who pushed for the recess-appointment of filibustered labor radical Craig Becker, meant what they said when they stated they were looking forward to working with the new members of the NLRB. Can you imagine the reaction from labor leaders and the news media if business leaders said the same thing?

In the past, the NLRB has been able to work largely unnoticed, out of the limelight. But with the nation’s anemic economic recovery, high unemployment rate, changes on Capitol Hill and the board’s sweeping anti-business agenda, its ability to operate in the shadows has sharply diminished.

Most recently, in a case known as Specialty Healthcare, the NLRB caused widespread alarm in the American business community when it asked for a briefing on whether it should approve very small collective bargaining units – one for every kind of job in an employer’s plant or company. Such a drastic change in existing board law, while it would make initial union organizing easier, would splinter employers’ business operations and harm the long-term interests of employees. Instead of approving larger groups of employees with common interests, such as plant-wide units that are now considered “presumptively appropriate,” the NLRB suggests it may approve a multitude of very small collective bargaining units. For example, a grocery store could find itself divided into bargaining units with a unit for cashiers, one for baggers, one for deli attendants another for the bakery staff and so on.

Katie Gage

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