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Witnesses Describe Urgent Need to Restore Balance & Fairness to NLRB

The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), held a hearing today to examine the extreme and partisan decisions made by the Democrat-controlled National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and to discuss how Congress and the Trump administration can remedy them.
 
“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,” Chairman Walberg said. “And that is precisely what this Congress — working with the new administration — is committed to delivering. Restoring balance and fairness to the [NLRB] will play an important role in this effort.”.
 
Witnesses discussed the harmful consequences of several NLRB actions, including a controversial joint employer standard that threatens small businesses, an ambush election rule that cripples worker free choice, and the board’s overreach in unionizing graduate students.
 
Reem Aloul emigrated from Jordan with the hopes of owning her own business someday. In 2013, she pursued her dream and purchased a homecare franchise business.
 
“I decided to focus on helping people in my local community remain in the comfort and familiarity of their homes and founded BrightStar Care of Arlington, Virginia,” Aloul said. “I’m a home health care franchisee. The franchise business model has enabled me to achieve the American dream of business ownership. And it has helped hundreds of thousands of others become entrepreneurs to serve their local communities too.”
 
But in recent years, Aloul said she has grown concerned over the NLRB’s joint employer standard that threatens the ability of small business owners to operate and grow their businesses.
 
“The decision by government officials here in Washington to change the joint employer standard is a baffling one … The policy is so broad and unpredictable; it could be applied to nearly any conceivable business relationship,” she said. “As a franchisee, one of many, joint employer unfairly changes the rules of business in the middle of the game. I invested a career’s worth of savings in this business. And now joint employer liability threatens everything I’ve worked for.”
 
Another witness, Raymond LaJeunesse, vice president and legal director of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, discussed how the NLRB’s ambush election rule has undermined the rights of workers in union elections. .
 
“The shortened time-frame for representation elections has adversely affected the ability of individual employees to fully educate themselves about the pros and cons of monopoly union representation,” LaJeunesse said.
 
He went on to explain, “The new rules have violated workers’ privacy rights by requiring employers to provide employees’ personal contact information — including their phone numbers, email addresses, and work times — to union organizers, with no effective limitation upon to whom the information would be passed.”
 
Kurt G. Larkin, a labor attorney, expressed concerns over the board’s partisan decision in Columbia University that empowered union organizers to target graduate students.
 
“The [NLRB’s] decision glossed over the fundamental differences between traditional employment environments and the educational context,” Larkin explained. “Faculty advisors who have traditionally guided students through their degree programs are transformed under the Board’s rule into statutory supervisors.”
 
Larkin went on to explain how this shift in relationship would “alter the daily interactions between students and faculty and negatively impact a university’s ability to execute its primary mission to educate its students.”
 
Chairman Walberg echoed these concerns and reaffirmed Congress’s commitment to restore balance and fairness to the NLRB.
 
“Small businesses owners and entrepreneurs deserve better. Workers and their families deserve better. And this Congress will demand better,” Chairman Walberg said. “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 [NLRB]. We will work to protect the rights of workers and employers, and help create an environment where businesses can grow and workers can achieve a lifetime of success.”

 

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