Little-Noticed But Crucial Senate NLRB Vote Coming

Dave Johnson

The NLRB made a rule that makes it easier for unions to organize by speeding up the process. There is a vote coming up on a Senate Resolution to block it, with Republicans saying that giving workers rights would “hurt job growth.” The danger is that enough “centrist” Democrats will join with Republicans to pass this. So pay attention.

The Rule

Last year the NLRB approved rules speeding up union-certification elections. This rule is needed because companies have been “filibustering” union elections with various tactics like bringing up meaningless and frivolous issues all the way through to the last stages of the process. All the while they saturate the workers with anti-union, intimidation threats and propaganda. (“We’ll have to close the plant if a union comes in” “You can’t get raises because unions rules don’t allow it.” “The unions takes more than half your wages, and calls it dues.” “Union thug bosses will give your job to their brothers-in-law.” — the whole time keeping union reps from having access to counter the propaganda.)

Corporate Free Speech

The NLRB passed this rule to make sure workers get their legal right to a vote on a union. This has infuriated executives at the companies that are trying to block unionization. They claim this is a violation of their corporate “free speech rights” that will allow unions to conduct “ambush elections.”

Business Week: AFL-CIO Urges Senate Democrats to Reject Challenge on Union Vote,

The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, is urging Democratic senators to reject a Republican effort aimed at killing a rule that regulators say will lead to speedier worker elections to form a union.

[...] Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber said the new rule would deny managers the time needed to discuss union membership with their employees before voting begins.

Right, the companies want to have “the time needed” to “discuss” union membership with workers. Right.

Business Week’s story contains the real reason for this:

Reducing the time for elections increases the chances a union’s supporters prevail. Unions win 87 percent of elections held 11 to 15 days after a request, a rate that falls to 58 percent when the vote takes place after 36 to 40 days, according to a February report compiled by Bloomberg Government.

The Hill: Business, labor groups gird for vote on controversial NLRB union election rule,

“The new NLRB rule makes modest, sensible changes to bring balance to the election process. A vote against the Resolution will ensure that the rights of working people to achieve economic security are protected,” said Bill Samuel, the labor federation’s government affairs director, in the letter.

Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose the rule, which would speed up union elections. Glenn Spencer, vice president of the Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative, has said in the past that a vote on the joint resolution is likely the most significant labor vote this congressional session.

… Under the Congressional Review Act, the joint resolution cannot be filibustered and can pass the Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes.

So pay attention to this one. It’s important!

Update: AFL-CIO has an action on this: URGENT: Act Now to Protect Workers’ Right to Vote

Update 2: The AFT also has an action on this: URGENT: Act Now to Protect Workers’ Right to Vote

Update 3: CWA has an action on this: Protect Workers Rights – Email Your Senators

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