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Public Statements

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act--Motion to Proceed--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I apologize for keeping the Presiding Officer and the rest of the staff here a little later than they might want, but I have an important message that will be brief.

I introduced legislation not too long ago called the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, S. 1843. It was a reaction to the NLRB's decision in the specialty health care case, where a group of nurses within specialty health care asked for permission to unionize and organize within that unit. The NLRB granted that, and that became the first microunion that has ever existed in the United States of America.

Today it is my understanding that the NLRB has approved the following: the second floor designer shoes department and the fifth floor contemporary shoes department at Bergdorf Goodman in New York--the two combined have 45 employees out of 370. They have granted them the right to organize.

This is a gigantic leap that differs from 75 years of settled labor law. Microunions within any retail establishment, medical establishment, or any other type of business prevents cross-training, causes discord, and is a way to upset an organization that otherwise is not upset.

Labor law in this country has been settled for a long time. Last year 70 percent of all the union calls in the United States of America passed on their vote. There is not a problem with unions being able to organize. But there is a huge problem if we continue to tear down the firewalls that have had the playing field level.

Just recently the courts have twice thrown out rulings of the National Labor Relations Board--one on ambush elections where they tried to reduce the average period of time from 58 days to 10, which is totally unrealistic, and, even more importantly, on the posting rule where the employers were asked to post proorganization posters within the break rooms in their companies. Both times the courts threw them out and said the NLRB has reached too far.

It is my hope the same thing would happen here again. But in the meantime, I want to encourage the Senate to allow us to bring S. 1843 to the floor and have this debate. In the free enterprise system, in the tedious economy we have today in this country, the last thing we need is to begin changing labor law and pitting organized labor against management in an adversarial type of way.

This example at Bergdorf Goodman today is an example of the National Labor Relations Board doing in regulation what we ought to be doing in legislation on the floor of the Senate. My biggest concern is that now it seems as if the administration's leadership in every Department has determined if we can circumvent the legislative body and through regulation do what we cannot do on the floor, we will forget about the House, we will forget about the Senate, and it will be the executive and judicial branches that run the United States of America. That is not good for our country, and that is wrong.

So I am going to call on the Senate and ask our leadership to let us bring this bill to the floor, to let us debate it and see if we want to change 75 settled years of labor law and unbalance the playing field between management and labor. I do not think we do.

I am sorry to rush to the floor after just hearing this information, but I think it is so important we nip it in the bud; that we let the playing field remain balanced, and we not turn over the operation of settled labor law to an NLRB that, quite frankly, seems to have run amok as far as I am concerned.

Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to speak and yield the floor.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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