Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, a panel of labor experts warned that some top federal labor officials are deep in the back pockets of organized labor.
The panel detailed how the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), under the Obama administration, has shown a clear and direct bias in favor of unions. Specifically, they argue, some major rulings made in the past year have significantly benefitted labor unions at the expense of companies and their workers.
The panel argued that the bias is the result of labor unions contributing significantly to Democrat candidates and in return Democrats will often unfairly benefit unions through rules and regulations. This, they argue, includes the president and his labor board appointees.
“More recently, of course we have effective on April 14, there are new regulations called the ‘quickie elections’ and this is a pure payback to the unions,” Tammy McCutchen told the audience.
The NLRB argues that the Final Rule, also known to opponents as the “Quickie Election” rule, will help to modernize the union election process. However, the panel argues it will help unions because it significantly speeds up the union election process. They say won’t leave employers time to explain their position or allow employees to fully consider the impact of unionizing.
“Currently it takes a medium, from the time a union shop petitions for an election and the time they get the election, 31 days,” McCutchen detailed. “Apparently that’s not quick enough, even though 94 percent of elections are held within 56 days, and unions are winning 65 percent of those elections.”
Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce has defended the decision by noting that it “will modernize the representation case process and fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act. Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.”
The labor panel also warned of the negative impact the NLRB joint-employer ruling will have on workers and small businesses.
“Another thing that’s really pernicious that’s going on, that’s really driven by the SEIU, is the attack on franchising,” McCutchen went onto say.
Last year, the NLRB issued a decision that made franchisors joint-employers with the individual franchisees they contract out to if they have a say over some particular business operations. The franchise model is unique because it allows entrepreneurs, who wouldn’t otherwise be able, to open their own business while still having the name recognition and support of a major corporation. The NLRB ruling changes that and makes the individual franchise owner just a part of the corporation as opposed to a private partner.
Opponents argue this will limit many from opening their own businesses which will reduce jobs. They also claim it is a way for the NLRB to benefit unions because it will make it a lot easier for them to organize franchise workers because instead of having to go to each restaurant or business individually, they could unionize the entire franchise.
The NLRB defends its decision by stating that franchisors have too much control over the independent franchisees they contract with for them to be considered their own operations.
Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW), also weighed in during the panel, arguing that the NLRB is the main tool for the Obama administration and unions to push their agenda.
“We’re going to have to bear it out for another two years because they are really in control of the agenda as it relates to organized labor,” Mix noted.
“We currently have 83 charges pending from the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of employees who are trying to vindicate their rights,” Mix detailed. “We don’t hold out a lot of hope for these employees with this current board.”
F. Vincent Vernuccio, the director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, did have some positive news though. He argued that despite the clear bias from federal labor officials, worker freedom is still moving forward on the local levels with several states considering their own right-to-work bills which would outlaw forced union dues as a condition of employment. The policy has passed in 24 states.
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