History Repeats Itself at the NLRB

f t # e
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 2015 | comments
The Obama National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has a long history of benefiting Big Labor at the expense of working families and small business owners. They also have a bad habit of dismissing legitimate concerns while advancing their activist agenda. History repeated itself yet again in a partisan decision redefining what it means to be an employer. Here is how the board’s Democratic majority responded to those opposed to its joint employer ruling:

Our colleagues’ long and hyperbolic dissent persistently mischaracterizes the standard we adopt today and grossly exaggerates its consequences …

If only it were true. But as the evidence has shown again and again, concerns about the harm inflicted on workers and job creators by the NLRB’s radical policies soon become reality:

Exhibit A: When the board jammed through its ambush election rule to speed up union elections, committee leaders warned:

This administrative overreach will stifle employers’ free speech, cripple workers’ free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families. It will completely upend an election process that has worked well for decades, one that is fair and designed to foster agreement.

And they were right. Despite the NLRB’s insistence that concerns were “predicated on erroneous speculation”:

  • Union elections are taking place an average of 11 days faster since the board implemented the rule, with at least one election occurring in only nine days. That means workers have less time to make an informed decision about whether to join a union.
  • During the first six weeks the rule was in effect, the NLRB boasted petitions for union elections increased by an astounding 32 percent. Let’s not forget union leaders won an overwhelming majority of elections before they were empowered to ambush workers and employers.

Exhibit B: In response to the NLRB’s unprecedented micro-union scheme, Chairman John Kline said:

The new standard empowers union leaders to manipulate workplaces for their own gain, with dramatic consequences in the real world. Some employers will be constantly engaged in costly labor disputes and workers will compete against their coworkers for wages and benefits.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what’s happening:

  • Former Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling described how unions “are using this carte blanche ‘create-your-own-union’ power that the Obama administration has given them to balkanize and gerrymander workplaces all over the country…”
  • The National Retail Federation explained the NLRB’s recognition of a micro-union at a Macy’s department store extends a standard that is “wreaking havoc on the retail workplace.” The group continued that the approach “disenfranchises employees, interferes with employer rights, and disrupts workplaces.”
  • Other micro-unions have included the second and fifth floor women’s shoe departments at a Bergdorf Goodman store, 44 massage therapists at a resort spa in Massachusetts, only 31 of 78 hourly employees of two rental car agencies at Denver International Airport, and the maintenance employees of an ice cream manufacturing plant.

So, what can we expect now that the board is about to upend countless small businesses by redefining what it means to be an employer? According to Reps. Kline and Roe:

The board has set a dangerous precedent that will lead to higher costs for consumers and fewer jobs for workers. This radical scheme will also threaten the livelihoods of men and women who achieved the dream of owning a small business and will make it even harder for others to pursue the same opportunity.

And these are the same concerns raised by numerous small business owners across the country. The American people deserve the truth about bureaucratic schemes that will hurt their families and livelihoods. Of course, as we’ve seen before, they’re not getting it from the Obama NLRB. That’s why Congress is taking action to help ensure the future doesn’t repeat the failures of the past.

# # #

f t # e