The Republican ambush on workers' basic rights


At every turn, organized labor has been there, fighting on behalf of the American people.

But today, instead of implementing policies that strengthen the middle class, Republicans in Congress are pushing a bill to stop the National Labor Relations Board from modernizing its procedures because it just might help - yes, I said help - America's workers.

The only way we'll stop this from happening is by raising our voices as loudly as possible. Join me right now to tell Congress to let the NLRB do its job.

Coming out of the Great Depression, America's labor unions helped build America's strong middle class. For half a century, as America's union membership went up, America's median family income went up, and that was true for families whether they were part of a union or not.

Since 1935, Congress has required the National Labor Relations Board to oversee the workplace elections in which workers decide whether to be represented by a union. More than 90 percent of the time when there's an election, it all goes smoothly. Employees and employers agree about the process, and an election is held without dispute. Done.

But, in the remaining cases, the rules on how to resolve these concerns have turned into a mess. Over time, a hodgepodge of different rules for resolving these disputes emerged in each of the country's 26 NLRB regions.

To fix this, the NLRB recently finalized national rules that set out the procedures for resolving pre-election issues and conducting elections. In other words, the NLRB is trying to make dispute resolution clearer, more efficient and more consistent from region to region. This is good for workers.

Trying to make government work better shouldn't be controversial. But it is controversial. Why? Because some employers like the broken tangled rules. They have learned that they can game the system and oppose union votes all together. They don't want the NLRB to work, so they are lobbying against these new rules.

And Congressional Republicans are standing up for them, advancing a proposal to stop the NLRB from implementing its final rules.

We can't let Congress promote an inefficient system that gives employers room to manipulate the process and block workers from organizing. Join me right now to tell Congress: Let the NLRB do its job.

Republicans claim they're concerned about workers being able to "ambush" their employers with workplace elections. That's just plain nonsense.

Let's be honest - the only ambush here is the Republican ambush on worker's basic rights.

According to a 2011 study from the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, long election delays correspond with higher rates of labor law violations. A delay gives anti-union employers more time to retaliate against union organizers and to intimidate workers.

So it comes down the question I've asked before: who does this Congress work for?

Republicans say government should keep on working for employers who don't like unions and who have figured out how to exploit a tangled system. They complain about government inefficiencies, but then they introduce a bill that is specifically designed so that a broken, inefficient system will stay broken and inefficient - even when we know how to fix it.

But we weren't sent here just to represent employers who don't like unions. We're here to support working people who just want a fighting chance to level the playing field.

Join me right now to tell Congress to let the NLRB do its job. 

This article by the Senator from Massachusetts appeared on the website Reader Supported News (RSN).

Photo: Elizabeth Warren with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).   Creative Commons 2.0


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  • The NLRB needs to modernize its rules to make sure the playing field is even in all elections. The Republicans don't like the working people of this country to have a voice, but we deserve the basic right to determine whether or not we are represented by a union. That is our choice.

    Posted by Christine Stephens, 03/14/2015 12:49pm (8 years ago)

  • The reality is the NLRB and the NLRA are simply management tools to restrict workers and their unions.

    Since Taft/Hartley was introduced in 1947 and took away workers freedom of speech rights the Democratic Party has held the White House and both branches of Congress with a heavy majority multiple time and have not even brought labor law reform to the floor. The last time the issue came up it was Democratic Party leadership who refused to allow it to come out of committee.

    Yes RTW is wrong but the Democratic Party has allowed it to be the law and now when they lack the ability to move anything in Congress that start talking about the evils of RTW. We need them to address the issue when they actually have power and repeal Taft Hartley. What they do have the power to do is pass TPP just like NAFTA and CAFTA and the Democratic Party will make sure that the working class gets TPP rammed down their throats.

    The current Democratic Party rhetoric is simply misdirection hoping the working class will ignore TPP.

    Posted by Jeff, 03/10/2015 4:32pm (8 years ago)

  • Here in Joplin Mo. at Eagle Picher LLC the USWA depend on the NLRB to help us fight Randy Moore and his team from Harassment toward the Union officials, violations of the Union Contract, the list goes on and on!!! Randy Moore and his team have not given these middle-class workers a fair contract in 6 years!!! We need to keep our NLRB in good standing!!!

    Lettie Hodges Unit President/Unit Griever
    USWA LOCAL 812

    Posted by Lettie Hodges, 03/09/2015 1:12pm (8 years ago)

  • In this day and age, the NLRB should not HAVE a job! It hinders economic progress and quite literally stands in the way of job creation and maintainance via natural market forces. So let's "let the NRLB do its" TRUE "job"....which is to otherwise do nothing than end it's own existence.

    Posted by Ken Meyer, 03/09/2015 10:08am (8 years ago)

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