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Hearing Recap: NLRB Edition (Part III)

Today’s Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee hearing covered the partisan National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or Board) systematic overreach and attack on employee rights. 
The NLRB is among the most activist federal agencies during the Biden reign. Beginning in January of 2021 with the President’s unheard-of firing of NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, the Board has pursued a treacherous course of overturning longstanding precedents and eroding institutional norms.

In his opening statement, Chairman Bob Good (R-VA) warned of the potential consequences. “Big Labor bias is a losing strategy for the country. Big Labor bias is harmful to companies, employees, and ultimately—consumers. After three years of this NLRB’s decision-making, the typical American worker is far worse off,” said Rep. Good.

Mr. John Ring, former Chairman of the Board, characterized the NLRB’s strategy under Biden this way: “Seeking to promote a particular agenda, the current Board majority and the NLRB General Counsel are attempting to administratively rewrite the [National Labor Relations] Act to facilitate unionization at the expense of individual employee rights.”

Other expert witnesses testifying included Ms. Alice Stock, Of Counsel at Bond, Schoeneck & King and Mr. Douglas P. Seaton, President and General Counsel at the Upper Midwest Law Center.

Turning to questions, Members took the chance to highlight the principles and spirit undergirding the National Labor Relation Act (NLRA), namely fairness and respect for employee free choice.

Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO) asked about the Board’s diminishing of the election decertification process, a cornerstone of employee free choice. “Can you discuss how this has made it more difficult for workers and eliminated their choice whether or not to withdraw from a union?” asked Rep. Burlison.

“A core principle, of course, as everyone at the table has said before the Committee, is employee choice. Part of the choice is the choice to end union representation, and that’s the decertification election process. That process has been truncated under the current Board Chair,” Mr. Seaton replied.

Under the Biden government, unions are like a bad habit: easy to fall into and hard to get rid of.

Next, Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) questioned the Board’s assault on worker choice to be an independent contractor. He asked, “Can you explain how the Board’s efforts to undermine an individual’s rights impact that worker’s choice?”

Mr. Seaton responded, “[Workers] have a choice as to whether to be employees or independent contractors. That’s a very important right under our Constitution—a livelihood right. And the Board has truncated and restricted the arena of choice.”

Rep. Allen then championed his bill, the Employee Rights Act, which would “create clarity and consistency across federal statutes with respect to employee and independent contractor status.”

Moreover, the NLRB has also helped run cover for the antisemitic union wing of the Democrat party. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) questioned the NLRB’s Lion Elastomers ruling, which potentially extends NLRA protections to antisemitic statements and harassment.

“Based on the Board’s decision, would a union calling for a global intifada and the destruction of Israel or a worker who makes antisemitic tropes against a fellow member be protected speech?” asked Rep. Walberg.

While initially commenting that he was unsure, Mr. Ring made one thing clear: “This Board has signaled that they are willing to embrace that kind of conduct, that kind of speech, as protected, as long as they can point to something in the workplace.”

Finally, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) got to the heart of NLRB overreach with her questioning. “What is an example of Chairman McFerran’s Board 
Ms. Stock offered two key examples: Cemex and Tesla. “In Cemex, the Board created a new rule that effectively eliminates the secret ballot election,” responded Ms. Stock. She then added that the Tesla decision completely changed the Board’s longstanding policy on workplace uniforms. And this isn’t the first time the Board has gone after Elon Musk.

Bottom Line: Against the onslaught of NLRB overreach, the Committee is standing firm on the side of workers’ rights and free choice. 
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