Yesterday, Congressional Republicans continued their all out assault on working families by passing a law that would limit workers rights to organize and block new rules from the National Labor Relations Board that would allow for faster union elections, slated to take effect in April.
The NLRB said in a December statement that the new rules would allow unions to use electronic means to file for an election and would allow unions to hold elections just 14 days after filing.
“I am heartened that the Board has chosen to enact amendments that 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,” said NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Peirce.
The bill passed 232-186, almost straight down party lines. The bill was opposed by all of the House Democrats (thank you Congresswoman Annie Kuster [NH-02]) and three lone Republicans. Congressman Frank Guinta, the Republican representing the first district in New Hampshire, was among the Republican majority who voted to pass the bill.
“Today’s vote by House Republicans against the NLRB’s common-sense modernization of its election rules is a direct attack on workers and their right to be heard in the workplace,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working men and women want an agenda from their Congressional leaders that raises wages and grows our middle class. Instead, they have gotten Republican policies that roll back progress and silence workers while protecting their biggest donors.”
Listening to the debate on the House floor shows exactly how much the Republicans really care about workers and their rights. These Republicans are putting corporations above working men and women.
“Today, Congress voted to stop an unelected board of bureaucrats from trampling on the rights of America’s workers and job creators,” said Congressman John Kline (R-MN) in a written statement after the vote. “The board’s ambush election rule will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families.
Rep. Kline’s statement is nearly identical to the statement released by the US Chamber of Commerce who has worked tirelessly to oppose unionizing efforts and push anti-worker legislation in dozens of states.
“The Chamber applauds Congress for passing legislation to stop the ‘ambush election’ rule issued by the NLRB,” stated U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randel K. Johnson. “This rule infringes upon an employer’s free speech right by virtually eliminating an employer’s opportunity to communicate his or her views regarding unionization with employees.
What they should have said was that this vote stifles a workers right to organize and gives more time for employers to hire union busting firms and lie to their employees about how unions operate.
President Obama has already said he will veto this totally partisan bill. This would be Obama’s fourth veto, and second in the last two months.
“President Obama is right in his commitment to vetoing this harmful legislation, and Congressional Republicans should focus their efforts on lifting workers up instead of shutting them out,” said Trumka.
Whether you support unions or not should not matter, that is why we hold elections. If workers freely choose to support a union, the union will win the election. If workers freely choose to reject the union, the union will lose. That is freedom and the choice that workers are guaranteed under the National Labor Relation Act.
Organizing and holding a union election is hard enough, and Republicans in Washington want to block workers from organizing. Working families need to understand that these Republicans are not looking out for them and are only looking out for the wealthy businesses and groups like the US Chamber of Commerce that fund their campaigns.