fresh voices from the front lines of change







There is a big, behind-the-scenes fight going on in Washington over whether our country will continue to have a middle class or not. The forces of the 1% are trying to change rules that protect the right of working people to band together, organizing themselves so they are better able to get concessions from big, wealthy corporations. There is a key vote in Congress today, and the corporate/conservative/lobbyist machine is going all-out to lay down a smokescreen and provide cover for those who vote on the side of the big corporations.


The mission of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), by law, is “to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.”

The Law

That’s right, it is the policy of the U.S. government, and the law, to “encourage” unionization because higher wages and benefits helps Americans and our economy overall. By law. But paying good wages and providing benefits means that the 1% and their corporations might have to wait a bit longer to stash away a few billion, so they are furious at such government “interference.” Yes, it is better for everyone in the long run when working people do better, but it isn’t better for the 1% right now, this quarter, so they fight every effort to help the middle class.

The Bill In Congress

This time, Republicans in Congress have introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act to block the NLRB from guaranteeing that union elections are timely. This means that the big corporations can’t spend week after week forcing workers to sit through endless propaganda sessions about how terrible unions are, etc. They will still be able to do this, but not for week after week after month, and not delay elections, and delay them, and delay them.

The conservative outlet The Washington Times lays it out in, GOP seeks to head off NLRB rules,

House Republicans are waging a pre-emptive strike against the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday to keep the group from speeding up the process for organizing unions and to prevent multiple unions at a single company.

The NLRB wants to quicken the pace to make it easier for employees and to prevent employers from discouraging them. The NLRB also supports allowing multiple unions, known as “micro-unions,” that represent different divisions within each company.

The Corporate/Conservative Machine

Here are just a few examples of the corporate/conservative machine in action. It is always fun to watch the lobbyists and conservative organizations swarm like this:

The Heritage Foundation today, Stop Obama’s Big Union Onslaught,

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Workplace Democracy and Fairness Act, introduced by Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN). The bill protects the right of workers to decide whether or not to unionize. That’s a right that the NLRB would like to drastically weaken.

… All of this is occurring despite the fact that only one in 10 non-union workers say they want to unionize. What’s more, unionized companies invest less, are less competitive, and create fewer jobs than non-union companies. Given these facts, it’s no surprise that union membership has shrunk to just 7 percent in the private sector. Likewise, though, it’s not surprising that the Obama NLRB is digging in and trying to foist unionization on all companies while it still can.

Heritage Foundation: Big Labor Drags American Airlines into Bankruptcy,

American is at a disadvantage because of high labor costs, proving that in a competitive economy, unions can’t do much for their members without sending companies into bankruptcy.

US News: Out of Control NLRB Strikes Again,

The National Labor Relations Board is out of control, and it’s time to slam the brakes on.

[. . .] it’s a serious and well-thought out effort involving the NLRB, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the rest of the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies that have the power to cripple the U.S. economy—and which are trying to give the labor unions, radical environmentalists, trial lawyers, liberal activists, and the rest of the Obama electoral coalition what they want.

Wall Street Journal: The NLRB Putsch,

The descent of the National Labor Relations Board from independent referee to a wholly owned AFL-CIO subsidiary is speeding up. Now its two Democratic appointees are attempting to ram through a new rule requiring quickie organizing elections, with barely any notice and little consultation with its sole GOP member.

The Examiner: NLRB is out of control

Americans For Tax Reform: NLRB Suppresses Dissent to Ram Through Controversial Rule

The Tennessean: Bill would stop pro-union crusade; ‘Big Labor’ pulls strings with NLRB,

When it comes to our workforce, Tennessee has a history of making the right decisions. But now, as the country is mired in a deep recession and Tennessee hovers dangerously close to 10 percent unemployment, a bureaucratic agency in Washington with strong ties to labor bosses is subverting our state’s ability to decide what is right for our workforce. ‘It’s Time To Close The NLRB For Renovations’ Also at RedState: ‘It’s Time To Close The NLRB For Renovations’

Big Government: Action Alert: Rein In The Rogue NLRB

“Ambush Elections”

Corporate lobbyist focus groups came up with the term “ambush elections” to fight the NLRB. Google now showes more than 33,000 website references to “ambush elections“.

American Spectator: Ambush Election Prevention.

Competitive Enterprise Institute: Congress, NLRB to Vote on “Ambush Elections”,

To prevent the NLRB from passing these “ambush election” rules, U.S. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) drafted the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act. This bill would ensure that the union election process guarantees fair periods of preparation and deliberation for employers and unions. Both the House vote on Rep. Kline’s bill and the NLRB vote on its proposed rules are scheduled for tomorrow.

The right-wing Washington Examiner: Big Labor pushes ambush elections

Etc. etc. etc. They have all the money in the world, and it buys a lot of noise.

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