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Walberg Statement: Hearing on "Restoring Balance and Fairness to the National Labor Relations Board"


After years of struggling through an anemic economy, sluggish job growth, rising health care costs, and stagnant wages, the American people are expecting — in fact, they are demanding — a new direction for this country. They want policymakers to advance a bold, pro-growth agenda that will reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, deliver a stronger, healthier economy, and provide hope and prosperity to families and future generations.
 
The American people are looking for a better way, and that is precisely what this Congress — working with the new administration — is committed to delivering. Restoring balance and fairness to the National Labor Relations Board will play an important role in this effort.
 
More than 80 years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act to guarantee the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain over terms and conditions of employment, such as wages and benefits. Approximately 10 years later, Congress would reform the law to enact a basic set of protections for employers as well, such as the right to communicate with their workforce on employment and union-related matters.
 
Together — both the original law and the subsequent amendments to the law — are designed to provide a level playing field between employers and union leaders. But more importantly, they are designed to protect the right of workers to make free and informed decisions about whether they want to join a union.
 
A neutral arbiter was created to maintain the balance Congress established in the law, protect worker free choice, and serve as an unbiased judge over labor disputes. The goal was to have an impartial referee who would apply the rules of the game fairly and objectively. That neutral arbiter was the National Labor Relations Board, although you wouldn’t know it from the actions it has taken in recent years.
 
We have repeatedly seen the Obama NLRB overturn long-standing labor policies and put in place new policies designed to empower special interests. It’s why the board adopted an ambush election rule that chills employer free speech, cripples worker free choice, and jeopardizes the privacy of workers and their families. It’s why the board endorsed a new joint employer standard that will destroy jobs and make it harder for entrepreneurs and small businesses to pursue the American dream.

It’s also why the board is advancing a micro-union proposal that gerrymanders the workplace, thereby limiting the workplace mobility of employees and tying up employers in red tape. And it’s also why the NLRB is expanding the power of union organizing on college campuses, whether it’s organizing graduate students, student athletes, and others.
 
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the extreme, partisan actions the NLRB has taken in recent years. As Republicans raised concerns with the harmful consequences of these policies, our colleagues told us not to worry; these were all innocent changes that will improve the lives of working families. Meanwhile, workers have less time to make informed decisions in union elections, micro unions are being certified across the country, and small business franchisees are uncertain about the future. None of this has helped invigorate the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.
 
Small business owners and entrepreneurs deserve better. Workers and their families deserve better. And this Congress will demand better. In the weeks and months ahead, we will do everything we can to turn back this failed, activist agenda and restore balance and fairness to the board. We will work to protect the rights of workers and employers, and help create an environment where businesses can grow and all workers can achieve a lifetime of success.