On October 5, 2011, Chairman John Kline (R-MN), pictured at right, Chairman of the House Education and Work Force Committee introduced H.R. 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which will protect employer’s free speech and worker’s free choice. The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved this legislation on October 26.
I had the pleasure of being on a conference call with Rep. Kline and Mary Beth Hutchins of the Workforce Fairness Institute giving us some insight into the proposed legislation.
Why this legislation is needed
Under current law workers have 45-60 days after union signatures have been gathered to decide whether or not to have an election to unionize. However, on June 22, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed significant changes to the rules governing these union elections. The board’s proposal provides employers just seven days to prepare a case to present before a NLRB hearing officer and leaves workers as little as 10 days to determine whether or not they want to join a union. The board has also adopted, in its Specialty Healthcare decision, a new standard for determining which group or “unit” of employees will vote in the union election, which will divide employees and raise employers’ labor costs.
Why does the NLRB want this?
The answer is simple: to rig elections in favor of the unions and grow “big labor” even bigger. Right now the NLRB has a majority of Obama recess appointees who favor “big labor” and unions. The most controversial member is Craig Becker of SEIU whom Obama recess-appointed after he feared the Senate would not confirm him. And why the “rush” for the NLRB to *change the rules* right now? Because Becker’s appointment expires at the end of this year.
President Obama also recess-appointed Mark Pearce who is pro-big labor and Brian Hayes (Republican Labor Policy Director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) to fill these three empty seats on the NLRB. Hayes’ term expires December 16, 2012 and he has made it known there is a possibility he may step down in order to deny the board a quorum in this decision.
If the NLRB “gets its way” it would also undermine the personal privacy of employees by making their phone numbers and emails available to the union.
Uncertainly in the work force
Case in point: the NLRB has filed suit against Boeing for building a new plant in South Carolina. Over-reaching actions and uncertain regulations mandated by the NLRB create nervousness on the part of employers and companies on whether or not to invest in new plants or increase their work force. It also creates fear on the part of employees at a time when jobs need to be created, not destroyed.
Below is an ad from the Workforce Fairness Institute explaining the situation in more detail:
And below is a statement from Hutchins on the issue:
“President Obama simply ‘can’t wait’ to payback his friends in Big Labor. While the president talks about job creation, his concerns rest with rewarding political allies at the expense of workers and small businesses,” said Fred Wszolek, spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI). “By reducing the financial disclosure for Big Labor bosses knowing they are engaged in questionable activities at the same time his Department of Labor works to stifle the ability of employers to communicate with employees about unionization, President Obama has completely undermined his own credibility with America’s workforce. Voters will see the president’s actions for what they are, and they may be the ones who ‘can’t wait’ to make a change next year.”
Kline’s legislation if passed and signed into law would stop private information of employees from flowing into the union coffers and it would also do the following:
- Under no circumstance can a pre-election hearing take place less than 14 calendar days after a petition for an election has been filed.
- A pre-election hearing is to be non-adversarial and identify any issues before the election. The board must decide all issues that may make the election unnecessary or that may reasonably be expected to impact the election’s outcome.
- Both unions and employers may raise any relevant/material issue or position at any time prior to the conclusion of the pre-election hearing.
- The full board must review appeals filed at the conclusion of the pre-election hearing.
Rep. Kline stated on the call his proposed legislation has already had an affect on the NLRB and they are beginning to make adjustments, but that isn’t enough. Please call your representatives in Congress and urge them to support the passage of H.R. 3094. The health and well-being of our work force and employers are depending on it.
Crossposted at Unified Patriots