WASHINGTON, D.C. | November 30, 2011 -
The legislation we are considering today is straightforward: It reaffirms workforce protections that have been in place for decades.
Across the country, the American people are asking: “How can we get this economy moving again? What will it take to finally put people back to work?” And Washington is responding with a number of answers.
Some think we should support more spending, more taxes, and more regulations. In essence, they are asking the country to double down on the same failed policies of the past.
My Republican colleagues and I believe we should chart a different course, one that includes removing regulatory roadblocks to job creation. The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act is part of that effort.
The legislation says we shouldn’t allow unelected bureaucrats to dictate policies that make our workplaces less competitive.
In June, the National Labor Relations Board proposed sweeping changes to the rules governing union elections. Under the board’s radical scheme, employers will have just seven days to find an attorney and navigate a host of complicated legal issues before confronting an NLRB election official.
Employees will have as little as 10 days to decide whether they want to join a union, denying them an opportunity to gain valuable information and make an informed decision.
The NLRB is already telling employers like Boeing where they can and cannot create jobs. Now the board wants to take away a workers’ right to make a fully informed decision in a union election.
This proposal largely prohibits employers from raising additional legal concerns, denies answers to questions that can influence the vote, and turns over to union leaders even more personal employee information.
Let’s get something straight: The board’s scheme isn’t about modernizing the election process. This is a draconian effort to stifle employer speech and ambush workers with a union election. Less debate, less information, and less opposition – that is Big Labor’s approach to workers’ free choice and it is being rapidly implemented by the activist NLRB.
For four years, Democrats controlled Congress. To my knowledge, not once did they try to streamline the union election process. Not once. They did champion a failed effort to strip workers of their right to a secret ballot, but they didn’t bother to offer any solutions to the alleged problems they now say plague the election process.
Today, union elections take place in an average of 31 days – giving workers a month to consider the monumental question of whether or not to join a union. One month.
Are there cases where delays have occurred? Yes, but without a doubt, these are exceptions to the rule. And former and current members of the NLRB have cited partisan shifts on the board as the leading cause of such delay. A broken board is no excuse for trampling on the rights of American workers.
I am aware the board very recently revised its earlier proposal and set aside some egregious provisions. However, the latest iteration still denies employers access to a fair election process, still deprives workers of the opportunity to make a fully informed decision, and still perpetuates the threat of more punitive measures in the future.
The board seems utterly determined to finalize a flawed proposal, regardless of the damage to the integrity of the board and our workplaces. We must act now.
The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act reaffirms workforce protections our nation has enjoyed for decades.
Employers currently have a fair opportunity to prepare for a pre-election hearing. The bill ensures employers have at least 14 days – a fair opportunity to prepare for the hearing.
Employers and unions can currently seek board review of issues raised before the election. The bill preserves their right to seek board review before the election.
Workers currently have an average of 31 days to decide their vote. The bill guarantees workers at least 35 days.
Before the board’s reckless Specialty Healthcare decision, a commonsense standard determined which employees would participate in the election. Once again, H.R. 3094 takes steps to restore a traditional standard, ensuring employees continue to have freedom and opportunities in the workplace and employers can effectively manage their labor costs.
Despite the heated rhetoric we will hear from opponents today, the bill is a responsible effort to set in law protections workers and employers have long enjoyed. I urge my colleagues to support the bill and I reserve the balance of my time.
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