fresh voices from the front lines of change







When workers want to vote on joining a union, companies typically start a long, grueling process of bringing in professional anti-union consultants to do what they need to do to delay and hopefully stop them. So the National Labor Relations Board ruled that union elections must be timely. Now Republicans are trying to pass legislation to drag the process out and give time for companies to put pressure on workers.

There is a long history to this NLRB rule. The bureau issued this rule some time ago, but this occurred at a time when Republicans were obstructing the agency from having a quorum on the board. Companies sued and got the rule reversed on this technicality. After Senate Democrats ended the obstruction of nominees and confirmed board members the NLRB again voted for this rule. The NLRB said the rule removed “unnecessary delay and inefficiencies.” Republicans and anti-union companies say this rule enables "ambush elections" that "favor unions."

Now that the rule has been put in place with a full NLRB board, Republicans are trying to vote on overturning the rule with legislation. According to The Hill:

One bill, backed by Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), would require the NLRB to let 35 days pass after employees file a petition before they are allowed to vote on forming a union.

... Their bill would also give employers 14 days to prepare their case before they go before an NLRB election official, as opposed to the seven days the agency is proposing. And employers would be allowed to raise additional concerns throughout the pre-election process, which the NLRB's rule would not do.

... Separately, the lawmakers are offering another bill that would allow workers to decide whether to disclose their personal and contact information to unions, which has been a point of controversy for Republicans.

Unions are the only path currently available to working people to win fair wages and benefits, and a voice, representation and dignity on the job. Without unions each individual worker is alone against the massive power of corporations. With a union the workers can at least band together to try to better their situation. The billionaires and their giant companies, of course, don't want unions to have this power.

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