Today’s Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee hearing covered the partisan drift of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the Biden administration and specific actions it has proposed which would erode agency norms, restrict employer speech, and essentially eliminate free choice for employees.
The hearing was led by Chairman Bob Good (R-VA), who outlined the original role and intent of the NLRB in his opening statement. “The NLRB was once a nonpartisan body tasked by Congress to serve as a fair and neutral arbiter in administering the National Labor Relations Act, but this administration has twisted it into a partisan attack dog for Big Labor interests,” said Rep. Good.
The NLRB has been hijacked by the Biden administration and Big Labor bureaucrats. In an unprecedented move, the NLRB General Counsel is working to overturn workers’ right to decide union representation by a secret ballot vote. Philip A. Miscimarra—who formerly served as the Chairman of the NLRB, reiterated that “labor law policy originates with Congress, not with members of the NLRB.”
Aaron Solem, another Republican-invited witness, agreed with Mr. Miscimarra’s position that labor policy starts in Congress but reminded the Committee that House Democrats’ anti-worker PRO Act is the wrong approach. “The PRO Act also gives union officials more power to impose compulsory unionism on individual workers, fulfilling nearly all of Big Labor’s wish list,” Solem said.
As a business owner and National President of the Independent Electrical Contractors, Cecil Leedy offered critical insight on the harm of the NLRB’s actions from an employer perspective. “IEC is deeply concerned about the efforts by the NLRB to impose policies that would restrict the ability of merit shop electrical contractors like mine from being able to have open conversations with their employees about the prospects of joining a union or voting to be represented by one,” Leedy said. “Seeking to limit the ability of merit shop contractors to provide their perspective and their side of the story to their workforce flies in the face of common sense.”
During the Q&A portion of the hearing, Congressman Rick Allen (R-GA) highlighted how his bill—the Employee Rights Act—counters the NLRB General Counsel’s efforts to strip workers of secret ballot elections. Every Member of Congress is elected by secret ballot and House Democrats elect their own caucus leadership by secret ballot, yet they want to deprive American workers of that same protection by passing the PRO Act.
As a former construction company owner, Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) outlined his experience with several union organizing campaigns where he often witnessed cases of harassment and intimidation by union organizers. From his 25 years in business, Mr. Smucker reiterated that “the most important concept is that employees should have choice and should be able to get the information that they need to make those choices.”
Sparks flew when Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN)
grilled Democrat-invited witness Angela Thompson, General Counsel at Communications Workers of America, over millions of dollars in donations made by labor unions to far-left advocacy groups. Mr. Banks is right; labor unions are meant to represent the interest of employees in the workplace, not act as political organizations. Yet, from 2010 to 2018, unions sent more than $1.6 billion in member dues—money intended for collective bargaining and worker representation—to hundreds of left-wing groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Clinton Foundation, and the Progressive Democrats of America.
Chairman Good summed up the hearing best when he said: “Fundamentally, the NLRB’s mass union drive is centered on the question of choice. Do employers have a choice in what they can say to their employees? Do employees have the option not to join a union? Americans want options.” A modern economy requires pro-growth policies that lift up all workers and gives them the freedom to decide their own future.
Bottom Line: Committee Republicans are fighting back against Biden’s radicalized NLRB.