WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 26, 2011
After failing to muscle through Congress proposals that would weaken critical workforce protections, Big Labor has turned to an NLRB that is all too eager to advance their extreme agenda. At a time when employers are demanding certainty and millions of Americans are searching for work, the board is imposing sweeping changes on virtually every private workplace. Labor policies that have served our nation well for years are being torn down in a desperate effort to expand the power of union leaders.
As a result, an employer’s right to communicate with his or her employees will largely be denied. If the NLRB has its way, workers may have as little as 10 days to decide whether or not to join a union, crippling their ability to make a fully informed decision. And micro-unions will proliferate across the country, driving up labor costs and undermining freedom and opportunity in the workplace.
These are just some of the consequences of the board’s activist policies and the reasons why we are here today. H.R. 3094 reaffirms long-standing workforce protections and reaffirms the primary responsibility of Congress to enact significant changes to federal labor law.
The legislation ensures everyone can participate in a fair election process. No pre-election hearing can begin in less than 14 days. Both employers and unions are free to raise any issue or assert any position before the close of the pre-election hearing. The legislation empowers all parties to ask the full board to review concerns raised during the course of the hearing.
Rather than set arbitrary deadlines, these provisions restore the NLRB’s traditional discretion over pre-election hearings, while ensuring employers have at least two weeks to find legal representation and prepare their case. They also help preserve a non-adversarial process that encourages both sides to negotiate the terms of the election.
The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act also provides workers the resources they need to make an informed choice. A number of factors can influence a worker’s decision, including the fundamental question of which coworkers will vote in the election. Workers deserve all the facts and time to discuss this important decision with their families. That is why the legislation provides workers at least 35 days to weigh the costs and benefits of union representation before they cast their ballots.
Finally, the bill requires the NLRB to determine before the election the group of employees that is most appropriate for collective bargaining. As it makes that determination, the board must apply the traditional standard which has provided certainty to all parties for more than 20 years.
No one should object to ensuring an employer can effectively navigate a host of complex legal issues and communicate with their employees. And it is difficult to believe anyone could deny workers the time and information necessary to decide whether they want to join a union. The policies included in this legislation are not radical changes by any stretch of the imagination. To suggest the bill will prevent union elections is rhetoric detached from reality. The legislation before us today simply reaffirms workforce protections that have been in place for decades.
The committee has spent a great deal of time examining the actions of the Obama labor board and its consequences for the nation’s workforce. Our oversight has frustrated those who would rather turn a blind eye to the board’s actions and their negative consequences.
However, as I’ve noted before, and will continue to note every time the board poses a threat to the strength and competitiveness of our workforce: Congress has a job to do. We will not stand by and allow a board of bureaucrats to impose sweeping changes on our economy, especially in the midst of the current national jobs crisis. I urge my colleagues to defend our most basic workforce protections and hold an activist NLRB accountable. I urge my colleagues to support the legislation.