NLRB Proposes Changes to Expedite Union Elections

By Richard Thayer

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) fired another salvo across the bow of the Republican Party this past Tuesday. Or at least that’s the way it and their subsidiary, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are perceiving it.

The thing that has their underwear in a big uncomfortable wad is the NLRB’s proposal to change a number of its rules regarding union elections. The purpose of these changes would be to reform “the procedures it follows prior and subsequent to conducting a secret ballot election to determine if employees wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining. The proposed amendments are intended to reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre-and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing.”

Of course any changes in the NLRB’s rules that would give the common worker a better opportunity of voting for union representation at their job is a large bur under the Republicans’ saddle. Both the lone Republican representative on the Board as well as the Chamber of Commerce were swift to respond to the news.

Said Republican member Brian Hayes: “Without any attempt to identify particular problems in cases where the process has failed, the majority has announced its intent to provide a more expeditious pre-election process and a more limited post-election process that tilts heavily against employers’ rights to engage in legitimate free speech and to petition the government for redress. The majority (on the NLRB) acts in apparent furtherance of the interests of a narrow constituency, and at the great expense of undermining public trust in the fairness of Board elections.”

Reading that statement, I envision the good congressman giving an impassioned speech in the chamber, his face flushed, veins protruding from the sides of his neck, eyes flashing fire. Oh, the indignity of it all!

And to no one’s surprise, the Chamber of Commerce isn’t too pleased with it either. Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benfits for the Chamber had this to say: “When organized labor failed to pass its top priority, the card check bill, we knew it was only a matter of time before the administration used the regulatory process to tilt the playing field in organized labor’s favor during union campaigns. The proposed rules…are a blatant attempt to give unions the upper hand by limiting the ability of employers to exercise their free speech rights.” He concludes with this: “These assaults on statutory rights, however disguised, will be strenuously opposed by the U.S. Chamber.”

It makes you almost feel sorry for big business, doesn’t it?

The NLRB is now accepting comments on their proposed amendment through writing and by conducting a hearing on the matter on July 18 (and possibly 19 as well). We would encourage you to look over the proposed amendments and then write the Board a letter expressing your feelings. We can guarantee you that big business and the Chamber will be voicing theirs.

You can find the NLRB’s fact sheet on the proposed amendments by going here.


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