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NLRB “Side[s] With Unions,” Issuing A Parade Of Controversial Rulings, “Further Riling Business Groups”

August 31st, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal writes today, “The National Labor Relations Board sided with unions in several cases involving rules for organizing and representing workers, further riling business groups as the board continues to push through decisions by year’s end. The board’s three Democrats outvoted the group’s sole Republican member in all three of the cases.”

According to the WSJ, “In [one] case . . . the board decided that the union could seek to organize a group that consists only of nursing assistants at a long-term care facility. That was a blow to the employer, which wanted to include other nonprofessional employees in the unit. . . . A second case . . . involved ‘card check’ elections in which employees sign cards to show their interest in joining a union. In its decision, the board said employees opposed to a union would no longer have the right to immediately challenge an employer’s recognition of a card-check vote. Unions prefer the card-check method to secret-ballot elections. In the third case . . . the board bolstered the rights of incumbent unions when a company is sold. It said neither the new owner, nor employees nor rival unions can stage an immediate challenge to the union. Instead, they must give a ‘reasonable period’ and ‘fair chance’ for the union to prove its merits in collective bargaining.”

The Journal notes, “Each of the decisions overturned rulings made in previous years when the board was controlled by Republican appointees, underscoring how the board’s interpretation of labor law tends to flip depending on which party is controlling the White House. Business groups, management lawyers and Republican lawmakers have accused President Barack Obama’s board appointees of going further than what is typical for Democrats. They say the Obama board is overreaching to bolster unions and union-organizing at a time when union membership has dropped to just 6.9% of the private-sector work force.”

In an editorial, The Journal points out another controversial NLRB decision from last week, writing, “When not telling U.S. companies where they are allowed to locate their operations, the National Labor Relations Board will now require them to display pro-organizing propaganda. The new rule issued last Thursday requires management to post notices about employee rights to unionize, collectively bargain and strike under the National Labor Relations Act. . . . But the rule is especially notable because the NLRB has no statutory authority to promulgate it. The board only has powers when they are invoked by a union petition or an unfair labor practice allegation. The NLRB decided to act purely on its own discretion, thus imposing on some six million employers, the vast majority of which are not under suspicion for any labor violations. . . . The larger danger is that the NLRB will now view failing to post such signs as an unfair labor practice and perhaps ‘evidence of antiunion animus’ in the labor cases that it does adjudicate. In other words, the poster rule is another potential pretext for punishing businesses; the campaign against Boeing for siting a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina isn’t based on much more evidence.”

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander described the NLRB’s action involving Boeing in June, saying, “[T]he National Labor Relations Board moved to stop America’s largest exporter, the Boeing Company, from building airplanes at a non-union plant in South Carolina, suggesting that a unionized American company can’t expand its operations into one of the 22 states with right-to-work laws, which protect a worker’s right to join or not to join a union. . . . So now the NLRB and unions want to make it illegal for a company that has experienced repeated strikes to move production to a state with a right-to-work law.”

As the WSJ editors put it, “It does reveal—again—that the NLRB has become in the Obama era ultra-politicized and an advocate for unions, and it also helps to explain private job creation, or lack thereof.”

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