The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took two back-to-back pro-union actions this week, including one allowing the facilitation of ambush union elections. Competitive Enterprise Institute labor policy experts warn that the NLRB has dealt a major advantage to labor union bosses.
“This week’s actions by the NLRB are both aimed at benefiting Big Labor at the expense of business and worker interests,” said CEI senior fellow Aloysius Hogan. These latest NLRB maneuvers are part of President Obama’s “pen-and-phone' strategy to advance a pro-union agenda.”
On Friday, a divided NLRB issued a new election rule to speed up the time frame for considering union representation, shortening the period between petition and election.
“Under new rules set forth Friday by the NLRB, union elections will take place in as few as 10 days from the request to unionize,” said Hogan. “That will effectively ambush businesses and employees who are left without time to discuss the downsides and tradeoffs of unionization.”
And on Thursday, in a ruling in the case Purple Communications, Inc., the NLRB reversed a 2007 decision and held that employees can use company email systems to circulate union materials, reasoning that today’s workplace is “the natural gathering place” for communications and email is the common form of dialogue, regardless of privacy concerns.
“The NLRB ruling issued on Thursday expanded organized labor's power by giving it access to company email exchanges for union business,” said Hogan. “This ruling infringes on worker privacy by requiring employers to provide unions with workers’ contact information – including phone numbers and email addresses – before the union has won representation over the workplace.”
The Board also told firms they need to grant access to unions if they grant employees email access in the first place, meaning that this ruling could also force firms to change their email policies.