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NLRB Considering Rule Allowing Jimmy Hoffa To Call & Email Employees

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

In an era when Americans simply want the government to leave them alone and focus on getting the economy going so businesses can create jobs, the message seems completely lost on Big Labor’s agents at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Since becoming president, Barack Obama has spared little to reward his buddies in Big Labor after they invested nearly half a billion dollars making sure the moving trucks to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the winter of 2008 where coming from Chicago, not Phoenix.

And in spite of the endless stream of giveaways to union bosses from the Obama NLRB – first its acting general counsel told an American company that it could not operate a new facility in a right-to-work state, then its Board issued a decision permitting labor to petition to represent “micro-unions” which threaten to balkanize the workplace and dramatically increase an employer’s labor relations costs, and promulgated a rule that will deny businesses a meaningful opportunity to express their views on unionization to their employees – it never seems like enough for union bosses.

The heads of the labor organizations are completely committed to getting the “payback” they believe they deserve after bankrolling Obama’s 2008 campaign. It was former American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) President Gerald McEntee who told The Washington Times that the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act was “‘payback’ for the labor movement’s massive campaign effort for Mr. Obama and the Democrats.”

And now, maybe more than ever before, these same bosses have leverage over this White House as it seeks campaign dollars in advance of Election Day 2012.

Mind you, labor heads have not been shy about boasting about their access to this president. It was reported that former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern was the top visitor to the White House. And it was American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka who said, “I have conversations every day with someone in the White House or the administration. Every day. And that includes weekends, by the way.”

Not surprisingly, each and every time Obama’s labor board issues a major decision, workers and businesses lose rights the law was designed to protect, while labor bosses gain power over them in the workplace. And to be clear, this is Obama’s NLRB; he is responsible for its actions. He appointed the members who are stacking the deck to ensure a favorable union outcome. And all of this was a carefully calculated plan on the part of the Big Labor, to have union partisans in charge of the NLRB. The Obama Administration is following their blueprint.

It was Stewart Acuff, special assistant to AFL-CIO President Trumka who wrote in 2010, “It [sic] we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action…”

So, the next handout to union bosses is the personal contact information of workers; their telephone numbers and personal email addresses to be used during organizing campaigns. Imagine, the U.S. Government believes it is entitled to provide Jimmy Hoffa, the general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the telephone numbers and email addresses of workers who want little else than to work hard and enjoy time with their families and loved ones at day’s end.

And how does the NLRB view this issue? Simple, it intends to keep its “eye on the prize,” according to its new chairman, Mark Pearce, a former union lawyer who will go back to representing unions when his term ends. The Associated Press reports, “One change Pearce wants is requiring businesses to hand over lists of employee phone numbers and emails to union leaders before an election.”

This is an unbelievable encroachment on the privacy rights of everyday people and is a gross overreach on the part of the overzealous union proxies masquerading as unbiased government bureaucrats. One could easily argue that the current policy of requiring employers to provide unions with the names and addresses of unit employees already exposes workers to intimidation and coercion. Workers supply their employers with their personal contact information with the expectation that it will be used for the reason it was provided, which more often than not is, to enable the employer to contact the employee or his/her family in the event of an emergency. It is not provided for unwanted disclosure to third parties.

Fortunately, Congress is aware of this issue and working to address it. Recently, Representative Sandy Adams introduced the Keeping Employees’ Emails and Phones (KEEP) Secure Act (H.R. 3991). The legislation would add a provision to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) stating, “[i]n no circumstances shall the Board require an employer to provide to the Board or to a labor organization the telephone number or email address of any employee.”

Seems pretty straightforward. Upon introduction, the bill had 33 co-sponsors. But this is not the first time the Congress has acted to protect workers and their employers from actions taken by Obama’s labor board. Last year, the U.S. House passed the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094), which was sponsored by the chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, Congressman John Kline. The legislation included a provision that afforded businesses at least a week to provide labor organizers with a list of employees who were qualified voters. It left it to the employees to decide whether and to what extent their personal contact information was to be provided to the union.

Keeping employees’ personal information out of the hands of Big Labor bosses – including their names and home addresses – or at least letting workers decide for themselves what information is sent along to union bosses makes good sense despite the fact it escapes Obama’s union cronies on the labor board. The last thing anyone who is working every day to feed their family needs to hear on the other end of the phone is, “Hi, this is Jimmy Hoffa, and I am calling to make an offer you can’t refuse.”

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