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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

Contact: Press Office (202) 226-9440
Obama Board Restricts Workers’ Right to a Secret Ballot Election

A worker’s right to a secret ballot union election is once again under attack from President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In its recent Lamons Gasket decision, the NLRB reversed a 2007 holding that provided workers 45 days to request a secret ballot election if their employer decided to voluntarily recognize union representation. Workers may now have to wait up to four years to cast a ballot to challenge union representation. Adding insult to injury, the decision is retroactive, applicable to all elections that had been held or were scheduled.

Ms. Barbara Ivey witnessed firsthand the impact of this assault on workers’ rights when a secret ballot union election was abruptly cancelled in her workplace. In today’s Washington Examiner, Ms. Ivey describes this experience, and explains how Lamons Gasket will affect workers nationwide:

In the recent Lamons Gasket case, the NLRB voted 3-1 to overturn a precedent that allowed workers like me to demand a secret ballot unionization election following a card check campaign.

I don't know why the NLRB decided to reverse precedent and end these safety-valve elections. But I do know the decision has had a serious impact on workers across the country.

Several pending union decertification elections were called off before employees had a chance to vote. Other elections that had already taken place were abruptly nullified -- the NLRB didn't even bother to count the ballots.

Choosing whether to unionize is a serious decision, and card check unionization drives are often fraught with misinformation, harassment and even intimidation.

Before the NLRB's Lamons Gasket decision, workers at least had an opportunity to demand a secret ballot vote following a card check campaign.

Now we don't even have access to that modest restriction on aggressive union organizing. My co-workers and I are saddled with a union for up to four years before we get another chance to vote.

House Republicans are determined to stand up on behalf of workers and fight the NLRB’s activist agenda. On October 14, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) launched an investigation into the Lamons Gasket decision, demanding documents and information related to this controversial decision.

“While the rhetoric of its allies suggests otherwise, the board’s actions are stripping away the rights of workers,” stated Kline and Roe. “The American people deserve to know how many workers will be denied the outcome of their union election and whether the Obama board delayed elections knowing full well the radical shift in policy they would soon pursue.”   

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