Organized Labor’s Plan B
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Stymied from achieving its top policy priorities through the legislative process in recent years, organized labor is now achieving much of its wish list by advancing a regulatory agenda that includes new federal mandates, decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), political appointments, and executive orders.
“Regulatory agencies have been doing a lot of favors for the unions,” says Glenn Spencer, vice president of the U.S. Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative (WFI), “and many of these rather dramatic policy changes pose a significant threat to economic growth and job creation.”
Due to strong opposition from the business community in 2009 and 2010, organized labor failed to win its top legislative priority, card check legislation, which would have done away with secret ballots in union organizing elections. Since then, however, unions have successfully secured overly aggressive enforcement against employers by the Department of Labor (DOL) and new NLRB mandates, including micro-union organizing and ambush elections.
Micro-union organizing refers to unions being able to gerrymander bargaining units, making it considerably easier to form very small union cells, which would create a beachhead for future organizing efforts and force employers to bargain with a potential proliferation of bargaining units. The NLRB’s ambush election rule would shorten the window for union organizing elections to as few as 10 days, down from the current median of 38 days, giving employers almost no time to get out their side of the story before workers vote.
“Businesses are being bombarded by overregulation, unfavorable court decisions, and heavy-handed enforcement,” says Mark W. Dickey, vice president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce in Missouri. “The onslaught of anti-employer tactics being imposed by the NLRB and DOL are continuing to make it more difficult for our nation’s employers to conduct business here at home.”
To ensure that employers are aware of organized labor’s regulatory push, WFI and the Chamber’s regional representatives have partnered with state and local chambers in a grassroots education campaign. In the first half of 2012 alone, WFI and the Chamber’s regional staff held more than 60 labor-related events in states all over the country, ranging from small roundtable discussions to formal presentations in front of crowds as large as 150.
Attendees are urged to submit comments to regulatory agencies, question candidates for office, and urge members of Congress to pass important legislation, including a bill to prevent the NLRB from punishing employers for making decisions about where to locate their facilities, as it did to Boeing last year, and a bill to overturn the NLRB’s micro-union and ambush election mandates.“The surge of regulatory activity has clearly energized the employer community, with larger and more energetic crowds than at this time last year,” says Spencer.
To host a road show event at your chamber, contact Ted Phlegar at 202-463-5526. For more information, visit www.WorkforceFreedom.com.