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Committee Leaders Take Action to Promote Worker Freedom


Members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce today introduced two bills to promote fair union elections and restore important protections for workers and employers. The legislative proposals are the latest step in the committee’s ongoing efforts to rein in overreach by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during the Obama administration.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776) to protect worker freedom by addressing the NLRB’s ambush election rule and micro-union scheme. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775) to roll back NLRB policies that jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families.

Members released the following statements upon introduction:

“Workers deserve the opportunity to make a fully informed decision on whether or not to join a union, and that’s exactly what this legislation is about,” Rep. Walberg said. “After years of an activist agenda by the NLRB that weakened the rights of workers and employers, it’s time to restore common sense to union elections. The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act will reaffirm important protections for the hardworking men and women who keep our economy moving.”

“For too long, the deck has been stacked in favor of union bosses at the expense of workers,” Rep. Wilson said. “One such imbalance, found in the ambush election rule, permits unions to access excessive amounts of personal data about employees and their families before a union election — leaving employees vulnerable to intimidation, threats, and harassment from union organizers. The Employee Privacy Protection Act is an important first step in rolling back the expansive labor regulations of the Obama administration.”

“Together, these commonsense proposals will protect worker freedom and ensure fair union elections,” Chairwoman Foxx said. “The decision to join or not join a union is a personal one, and workers deserve time and privacy as they decide what’s best for them. I want to thank Representatives Walberg and Wilson for championing these proposals, which are the latest step in our efforts to restore fairness and balance to federal labor policies.”

BACKGROUND: During the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board implemented sweeping changes to the rules governing union elections. The board’s 2015 ambush election rule dramatically shortened the time between the filing of a petition for a union election and the election date, giving workers as few as 11 days to consider all the consequences of joining a union and providing employers just seven days to find legal counsel. The rule also forced employers to disclose the personal information of employees to union organizers, including names, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, work locations, and work schedules.

In addition, the board’s 2011 decision in Specialty Healthcare radically altered policies for determining which group or “unit” of employees will vote in a union election. The resulting “micro-union” scheme empowered union leaders to handpick small units of employees to organize, creating division and discord in the workplace, restricting employee freedom, and forcing employers to bargain with multiple unions and engage in constant labor negotiations.

To protect the rights of workers to make an informed decision in union elections, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776). The legislation:
  • Guarantees workers have the ability to make a fully informed decision in a union election.
        
  • Ensures employers are able to participate in a fair union election process.
         
  • Reasserts the NLRB’s responsibility to determine the appropriate group of employees to include in a union before the union is certified.
         
  • Reinstates the traditional standard for determining which employees will vote in the union election.

To safeguard the privacy of America’s workers, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775). The legislation:

  • Empowers workers to control the disclosure of their personal information.
        
  • Modernizes the union election process.
        
  • Rolls back NLRB policies that jeopardize the privacy of working families.
For a fact sheet on the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, click here.

For a bill summary of the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, click here.

For a fact sheet on the Employee Privacy Protection Act, click here.

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