Last week, the U.S. Senate had an opportunity to take a stand with employees and employers, and send the message that burdensome and unreasonable rules imposed by unelected government bureaucrats have no place in our economy, particularly after 40 consecutive months with unemployment higher than 8 percent.
Unfortunately, as has become the case much too often on Capitol Hill, some senators would not let common sense get in the way of doing the bidding of a special interest that is bankrolling campaigns this political cycle to the tune of half a billion dollars. The vote, which took place in the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, concluded with 15 voting in favor of the amendment and 15 against, meaning the provision to defund the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision in favor of micro-unions did not go forward. Senator Mark Pryor supported the amendment, making the vote bipartisan. His stance was one consistent with the views of his constituents and in favor of policies that encourage – as oppose to discourage – job creators.
But other Democrats on the committee, such as Senators Jon Tester and Mary Landrieu, lacked the courage to step forward and support the employees and employers in their states. Instead, dependent on union boss largesse, each voted against the interests of state citizens and in favor of Big Labor in Washington, D.C.
The reason the vote on the amendment offered by Senator Lindsey Graham was significant was due to the fact it would have disallowed taxpayer resources from being directed to administer the micro-union decision reached by Obama’s labor board in the Specialty Healthcare case. In its decision, the board endorsed the formation of mini or small collective bargaining units made up of as few as two or three people. It attempted to lead the public to believe the application of the decision affected health care facilities, when it reality, it was targeted against all employers.
This came to light just a few weeks ago when the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union petitioned to represent Bergdorf Goodman sales associates working in the company’s Fifth Avenue store. The NLRB’s regional director authorized the formation of the micro-union of women’s shoes associates in the second and fifth floors. The decision sent shockwaves through the business community, particularly among retailers, as most understand this policy is nothing more than government enabling labor bosses to gain a foothold in businesses, whether or not the majority of workers want to form a union.
It is the brainchild of labor radical Craig Becker, who was recess appointed to Obama’s labor board because both Republicans and Democrats opposed his nomination. He has since received his reward from Big Labor and a new position was created for him at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) as co-general counsel. Clearly, in spite of infinite promises to the contrary, the revolving door is alive and well within the Obama Administration.
The recent developments in the Senate Appropriations Committee highlight the need for those elected to the upper chamber to come together and support legislation authored by Senator Johnny Isakson named the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S.1843). It would “reinstate the traditional standard for determining which groups of employees should constitute an appropriate bargaining unit,” according to a recent release disseminated from the Georgia Republican’s office. The reason the legislation is necessary is because the board undid nearly half a century of labor law with its sweeping change allowing micro-unions, which is inconsistent with fundamental principles of workplace democracy.
The formation of micro-unions would result in an undue proliferation of units in workplaces, which is a detriment to both employees and employers. It will dramatically increase a business owner’s labor relations costs, and produce unrest and workplace disputes as different unions representing varying employees will seek distinctive pay structures and benefit packages.
Micro-unions are bad for workers, bad for businesses, bad for the collective bargaining process, but good for union bosses. Therefore, the Congress must put aside the politics that rewards labor bosses seeking “payback” and put the interests of employees and employers first. U.S. Senators can send a message to job creators working each and every day to lead our nation toward an economic recovery by scheduling a vote on the Representation Fairness Restoration Act.