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  • Former NLRB Chief Warns Against Board's 'Radical' Snap Elections Rule

    A former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday blasted a proposed rule that would expedite elections for workplace unionization, insisting the proposed rule represents a “radical manipulation of the board’s election process” and an attempt to “tilt the process in favor of organized labor.”

    “The proposed rule demonstrates once again,” claimed Peter Schaumber in his prepared testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee, “that the current board majority feels unconstrained by the limits of the law and its role under the [National Labor Relations] Act to be completely neutral on the question of unionization.”

    Schaumber, who served on the NLRB from 2002 to 2010, the latter two years as its chairman, reiterated later in his testimony that the “animating concern” of the NLRB’s majority “is the loss of union density in the private sector.”

    The changes to union election procedures implemented by the new rule, Schaumber suggested, are simply intended to swell union ranks by precluding employers from effectively making their case against unionization. Schaumber’s claims echoed those of Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst James Sherk, who wrote last month that the rule would “short-circuit employers’ ability to make their case. If the election takes place in a matter of days workers will base their decision (largely) on information received from the union.”

    Other witnesses at the hearing lent anecdotal weight to Schaumber’s testimony. Larry Getts, an employee at a Dana Corp. plant in Fort Wayne, IN, that packages and ships auto parts, recalled a 2007 attempt by the UAW to organize workers there.

    “I was initially inclined to support the unionization effort,” Getts said in his opening statement, “as I’d been a union member at a previous job.” But as Getts and his employees researched the union representatives’ rosy claims, they soured on the idea. After a long push by the UAW – during which Getts claimed to have endured “intimidation, harassment, and mistruths” – the unionization drive failed.

    Getts was adamant that the NLRB’s proposed “ambush elections,” as he called them, would prevent employees from doing the research necessary to make an informed decision about unionization. Further, contrary to claims that unions are, from the outset, at a disadvantage in pitching their case to workers before elections are held, Getts insisted that “there [was] an absence of information from employers” with which workers could make an informed choice.

    A number of witnesses made that point, and in doing so echoed the central theme of Schaumber’s testimony: the proposed NLRB rule is simply an attempt to bolster the dwindling ranks of America’s private sector labor unions by denying workers the opportunity to make a fully informed decision.

    The rule, claimed labor lawyer Michael Lotitio in his written testimony, “assumes employers have no role to play in NLRB representation elections,” a notion long espoused by recess-appointed NLRB member Craig Becker, also a former associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO and the SEIU. Becker has argued that “employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practices case.”

    But as Carew Concrete and Supply Co. president John Carew pointed out, “unions have the advantage of subtly working behind the scenes for months,” even before any official unionization drive begins – and, consequently, before employers know to educate their workers on the potential pitfalls of joining a union. The only witness to speak in favor of the proposed rule, University of Indiana law professor Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, insisted that longer election processes inherently work against unionization, ignored that efforts to unionize might begin long before the official drive commences.

    Carew claimed that the NLRB’s rule will preclude employers from making their case to their employees. But according to the Board’s former chairman that’s a feature of the rule, not a bug.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Former NLRB Chief Warns Against Board's 'Radical' Snap Elections Rule

    1. West Texan says:

      The whole idea of an NLRB runs counter to federal government's constitutional role. Eliminate the NLRB and allow states to manage their own workers' rights. And yes, employers should have a say in such matters. That's fair. Otherwise it's called cheating, apparently what unions do best.

    2. Robin says:

      As a former NLRB attorney – who as such conducted many an election – I agree that this is an attempt by a very politicalized Board to engage in "political payback"….and to force unionization on the private sector at the expense of the rights of employees to join or not join a union. Under the current laws, during the campaign period the unions are able to make false promises and outright lie without any recourse; whereas, employers have strict limitations imposed upon what they may do/say -otherwise they face unfair labor practices. Employees deserve to hear both sides before casting that important vote!

      • Glenn says:

        Oh yeah. The Board didn't tilt toward employers un the Bush years? They striped RAs and TAs at colleges and universities of the protections of the Act. They tinkered with the defintion of supervisor to kick charge nurses out of hospital elections. Why? To take the wind out of the two highest profile areas of union expansion.

        Employers deprive employees of rights at about 4:1. They illegally fire union activists in 30% of elections. The commit other kind of coercive practices in even higher numbers. If you think that unions do this more than employers you are out of touch with reality. Read some Board statistics.

        Employees deserve to hear both sides? Employers can have captive audience meetings, sometimes as many as 5 8 hour meetings for the entire bargaining unit. Guess how much time unions get?

        The Board doesn't punish misrpresentations by either side. Are you out of touch enough to think employers tell the truth about unions?

        And what about unfair labor practices during elections and campaigns? 80% or more are by employers.

        How about this for equality? For every captive audience meeting hour for management, unions get equal time?

    3. Bobbie says:

      It's suspicious to have this type of entity fully supported by government. Unions don't give people a voice of their own. Unions are controlling just like all applications of America's 21st century, government. Shouldn't the world really be showing more individual, self control?

      What happened to the employee with a real voice of their own, voicing employee concerns without having them created by union thugs government promotes and permits power to?

    4. Ben says:

      Employers are Business,to make the false assumption that our Government should not intervene in the process is to say "a free for all may the strongest win" . Unions came about for a purpose , the NLRB came about for purpose ,if Business was always friendly little lambs we would have no need for either one ,but because we all know thats not the case ,it would not benefit the weak when the Bull and the Bear are unleashed .

    5. Corky W. says:

      The unions now days are just like the present administration..lies, cheats, thieaves, low lifes and bottom feeders. If they can't have their way they will do it by force. They like the lifestyle they live at the expense of the men and woman that have to pay the dues… it only goes to show the mentality of the unions ………………….the bottom line is MONEY

      • glenn says:

        Bull, employers commit 80% of coercive ULPS. But facts don't matter.

        Management doesn't like unions because they improve pay and reduce managerial control of the workplace. In both cases that is about money.

    6. West Texan says:

      Ben assumes, wrongly, that unions and the NLRB are composed of more trustworthy folks than private entrepreneurs and business. Such a belief is pure fantasy. This deceptive mindset, however, is what drives big government social progressives.

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