As the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations considers the FY2013 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill upon its return from the August recess, now is the time for business owners – battered by the economy and slighted by President Obama’s rhetoric (“you didn’t build that!”) – to consider their best path to survival in our bleak economic environment.
While crafting the appropriations bill, the House Labor Health and Human Services Subcommittee decided to block funding to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) efforts to impose micro-unions on small businesses. When it returns to Washington, the full House Appropriations Committee has the opportunity to stand up for employers and pass the bill with the defunded micro-union amendment intact.
But workers and job creators have every reason to worry. Simply trusting that a federal government that often seems predatory and hostile to them will make common sense decisions in the best interest of our nation’s economy isn’t enough. Business owners need to stand up to the union boss-financed politicians and the pro-labor bureaucrats who have had them in their sights since Barack Obama took office.
The NLRB’s Specialty Healthcare ruling creating micro-unions allows different departments of the same company with as few as two or three employees to unionize. It lowers the bar for forming a collective bargaining unit in a workplace by disempowering workers and strengthening the grip union bosses have on a business. Consider a department store. Obama’s labor board would allow the folks behind the cosmetics counter to form one union; the clothing department could form another; the custodial crew could form yet another; and so on and so on. The ruling gives union bosses multiple points of entry to essentially take over every aspect of every business in America. It would cripple small businesses.
Take the recent example of New York City’s Bergdorf-Goodman. Out of 372 sales associates, 42 of them sell women’s shoes. Upon receiving a unionization petition for those 42 workers – only slightly more than 10 percent of sales associates – the NLRB allowed the micro-union to form. In doing this, Obama’s labor board tossed out nearly a century of settled American labor law in an unprecedented sop to Big Labor .
This is why it remains imperative that the House Appropriations Committee members draw a line in the sand on the NLRB’s bullying tactics. The legislative process is the last available opportunity to thwart the implementation of this job-killing new rule.
Multiple efforts have already been made. Last year’s Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, passed by the House, prohibited the establishment of micro-unions and the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, introduced earlier this year by Senator Johnny Isakson, would re-establish collective bargaining’s traditional standards.
But the importance of this particular legislative opportunity remains heightened as it comes on the heels of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s failure to defund micro-unions.
Stopping micro-unions with a vote on the FY2013 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill would send a message to Big Labor and the un-elected bureaucrats who seem content on doing the bidding of union bosses. Job-killing regulations remain an issue that must be checked at the door, regardless of economic times, though even more so as over eight percent or 23 million Americans remain unemployed.