Walberg Statement: Hearing on "Restoring Balance and Fairness to the National Labor Relations Board"
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2017
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.