On Tuesday the National Labor Relations Board announced three new decisions that industry experts say will likely hurt the economy and cost American jobs.
The first and likely most controversial NLRB ruling overturned a 2007 decision that gave workers nationwide the right to protect themselves from union bosses’ bullying and coercive tactics with secret ballot elections.
Via its newly-decided Lamons Gasket case, the NLRB eliminated the 2007 Dana Corp ruling, which the National Right to Work Foundation said protected workers from “coercive practices” union organizers often used to “bully or mislead employees.”
The Dana Corp. decision allowed workers the opportunity to request a secret ballot election within a 45-day window following a “card-check” organizing effort. Card-check organizing efforts are when union bosses try to get workers they’re targeting to sign cards indicating they want to have a union election.
What union bosses often neglect to tell workers is that if enough workers sign cards, there’s no need for an election. They’d already be unionized.
“The Obama Labor Board’s ruling to kill the Dana Corp. precedent that allows workers a secret ballot vote to kick out a union that gained control of the workplace in an abusive ‘card check’ campaign adds to an already exhaustive list of paybacks from the Obama Administration to Big Labor,” NRTW Foundation president Mark Mix said in a statement. “Big Labor and its allies have launched a full-scale assault on worker freedom and the Obama Administration is working tirelessly to appease them through bureaucratic means after they failed in Congress.”
Mix said that the NLRB decision is an affront to what the American people want and that the decision takes rights away from workers. (RELATED: Outgoing Democratic NLRB chairwoman: Conservatives attacking Board with ‘baseball bat,’ vitriolic rhetoric)
“NLRB’s most recent actions go against what the America people want. The American people and their elected representatives in Congress oppose the Card Check Forced Unionism bill, but the Obama Labor Board seems determined to impose card check on American workers in every way it can,” Mix said. “Taken with the NLRB’s other recent actions, the Obama Administration has made it easier for union operatives to steamroll over workers while making it next to impossible for independent-minded workers to stand up for their rights or decertify the union hierarchy.”
On Tuesday the NLRB also decided that unionized workers should be forced to wait a “reasonable amount of time” before booting a union after a change of ownership at their shop. The UGL-UNNICO Service Company ruling means employees will have to wait an extended period of time before removing an unwanted union if their company’s ownership changes.
The third ruling also favored unions. It allows for “micro union” organizing at non-acute healthcare facilities.
Micro unions allow labor organizers to section off company employees by specific job descriptions. For example, if a union tried to organize a restaurant staff, leaders would target servers, busboys, dishwashers, cooks and hostesses separately.
Per the NLRB’s ruling, in non-acute healthcare facilities, like nursing homes and other long-term non-critical health facilities, unions can now target each layer of staff with organizing tactics.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce labor policy expert Glenn Spencer said the NLRB’s micro union decision isn’t as bad as many in the business community thought it was going to be.
Nonetheless, Spencer warns that businesses should watch out for more tricks. “The board did not, as we had feared, apply that standard broadly across the private sector, though it did significantly relax the criteria used to determine an ‘appropriate bargaining unit,'” Spencer wrote in a blog post.
Though the three decisions were announced on Tuesday, a few days after the NLRB’s outgoing Democratic chairwoman Wilma Liebman’s term expired, she voted in favor of each ruling. All three cases were decided in 3-1 decisions. The only dissenting member for each was Republican Brian Hayes.
In a release shortly after Liebman’s announced departure, Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute said he expected that the entire NLRB staff was rushing to force policy shifts through late Saturday night, Liebman’s last night on the job.
Now that the new decisions have been finalized, and it’s clear Liebman voted on each one, Wszolek said he’s more convinced than ever that the Obama administration isn’t interested in fixing the economy.
“President Obama has stated creating jobs is his most ‘urgent mission.’ Judging by the actions of his administration, his rhetoric is completely untrue,” Wszolek said. “Today, the National Labor Relations Board continued its attacks against employees and employers with more rules that will kill jobs and force business closures. With unemployment near double digits and deep uncertainty in the marketplace, President Obama’s labor board couldn’t care less about workers as it seeks to reward union bosses.”
The National Association of Manufacturers said the NLRB’s newest union-favoring policies aren’t going to help create jobs.
“From a manufacturing standpoint the decisions released today have the high likelihood to be severely disruptive to the workplace, will hinder job creation and put jobs at risk,” Joe Trauger, NAM’s Vice President for Human Resources Policy, told The Daily Caller.