House Republicans indicated that they will shortly move on new legislation to dramatically restrict the ability of American workers to join together to collectively bargain for a better life, marking a continuation of a sustained campaign against workers' rights and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
"Union rights have paved the way to the middle class for millions of Americans over the last century," said Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.). "Unfortunately, today's hearing is one more example of a special-interest driven anti-worker agenda. Rather than pursing policies to raise wages and put Americans back to work, committee Republicans are pushing two bills that will lower wages, impede workers' rights to associate freely, and threaten the economic security of the middle class."
H.R. 2346 would increase workplace polarization by eliminating workers' and businesses' right to reach voluntary recognition agreements. H.R. 2347 would radically tip the scales to employers by giving them a dominate say in workers' wishes to determine their own bargaining unit.
"In my view enactment of the bills under consideration by the committee today would undermine important principles that have been part of the labor law for decades," said Fred Feinstein, senior fellow at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and former general counsel to the National Labor Relations Board. "The bills propose substantial and one sided changes that appear intended to favor the interests of employers at the expense of employees. Enactment of the bills would weaken important principles and employee rights that would undermine the ability of employees to engage in collective bargaining."
These bills come after several attempts last Congress to shut down the NLRB. House Republicans pushed through special-interest legislation recently designed to dramatically weaken workers' right to a free and fair union representation election, passed legislation to take away any effective remedies the NLRB can use to enforce laws protecting workers from retaliation, and interfered with ongoing enforcement actions. Only the NLRB can enforce workers' and employers' rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Key Facts on the Anti-Worker Legislation:
H.R. 2346 will increase workplace polarization by eliminating workers and businesses right to voluntarily recognize a union.
The right for employees and employers to choose to engage in a voluntary, majority union recognition process has been in the law since 1935 and has resulted in less hostility and polarization in the workplace.
The instances of abuse and intimidation of workers in a voluntary recognition process are very rare.
The NLRB election process is heavily tilted in favor of employers where there are greater instances of worker intimidation by unscrupulous employers.
H.R. 2347 radically tips the scales to employers by giving them a dominate say in workers' wishes to determine their own bargaining unit.
The true purpose of this bill is to allow employers to gerrymander bargaining units in order to prevent or sway the outcome of union elections.
The bill sets up a brand new framework where employers can request the inclusion of additional workers in a proposed bargaining unit and puts the burden of proof on the union, not the employer, to argue that these employees don't belong in the bargaining union. This approach is 180 degrees from current law.
Since the Specialty Healthcare NLRB decision, the median size of election units have actually increased despite Republican claims that the decision would encourage so-called "micro unions."