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NLRB Rulings Advance Destructive Agenda

Aug 31, 2011 | Blog

Just over a week after Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) opposing its proposed job-killing “ambush elections” rule, which would place an enormous burden on employers by shortening the time from filing of a union petition to the actual election, the unelected NLRB yesterday issued three more partisan decisions which will further tip the scales toward Big Labor and hurt job creation.

The first troubling ruling is the Board’s decision in Specialty Healthcare. On a partisan 3-1 vote, the NRLB found an appropriate bargaining unit can consist of as few as two workers, opening the door to the proliferation of numerous “micro-unions” within a single workplace.  James Sherk, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation pointed out concerns with the NLRB’s proposal, including:

  • Preventing Career Advancement: “Separate unions representing individual job titles would prevent companies from training workers for and assigning them to jobs in different bargaining units as needed. This would limit employees’ opportunities to learn new skills and employers’ ability to assign workers where they are needed most, which would both reduce productivity and limit workers’ opportunities to advance within the company.”
  • Burdens on Business Operations: “Negotiating dozens of separate collective bargaining agreements would impose immense costs in both time and legal fees…Separate unions for each job title would impose enormous costs on businesses, handicapping U.S. business in the global economy.”

In a second case, Lamons Gasket Company, the NLRB overturned a 2007 precedent by stripping workers who oppose joining a union through the “card check” method of the right to request a secret ballot vote in the 45-day window after a union has been recognized.

As President Obama noted last year when discussing the rejected “Employee Free Choice Act”, which would have effectively eliminated the democratic right to a secret ballot in union organizing elections:

“Frankly, we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate. So the opportunity to actually get this passed right now is not real high. What we’ve done instead is try to do as much as we can administratively to make sure that it’s easier for unions to operate and that they’re not being placed at an unfair disadvantage.”

The NLRB’s rulings show it is once again heeding President Obama’s call to push through administrative agencies job-killing policies that would not pass through Congress. Senator Rubio will continue working to hold the NLRB accountable and speak out against policies which will impede our efforts to grow the economy and help get the 14 million Americans without a job back to work.