The holiday season is one of spreading good will, happiness, and cheer as young and old alike look forward to spending time and exchanging gifts with family and friends. But this particular Christmas season will be a joyful one for Big Labor and a dismal one for many workers and small businesses. In no small part due to hundreds of millions of dollars spent by Big Labor, President Obama won reelection. And as a result, union bosses will be looking in their stockings and under their trees for the payback they expect in return. Instead of seeking goodwill, labor bosses are pursuing policies that hurt employees, employers and the nation’s economy.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) is the vehicle of choice for union bosses seeking a return on the investment they made in the President’s election and re-election. During President Obama’s first term, Big Labor demanded the recess appointment of labor radical Craig Becker after he had been successfully opposed by Republicans and Democrats alike in the U.S. Senate for views considered outside the mainstream. His appointment resulted in labor law changes solely to make union organizing easier without regard for their impact on the workplace and legitimate management concerns. For example, Becker was the architect of the Board’s controversial decision known as Specialty Healthcare, which threatens to balkanize American businesses with micro-unions, a multiplicity of individual bargaining units. These micro-unions will be differentiated solely by the specific task the workers perform or the location within the business where they perform it. Micro-unions could be as small as two or three employees and threaten to undermine collective bargaining, increase workplace discord and dramatically augment an employer’s labor relations costs.
Now, with the sole Republican Board member’s term ending December 16th and Christmas around the corner, the president’s remaining labor board members (three union partisans) are preparing to fill Big Labor’s stocking and place numerous gifts under its tree.
One stocking stuffer will be a decision in Roundy’s Inc. which will require an employer to give non-employee union agents access to the employer’s premises if the employer grants access to other non-employee groups, organizations or individuals. So, for example, if a business owner permits charitable organizations, such as the Salvation Army, to solicit donations for the poor and the homeless on its premises, it will be required to grant the same access to labor organizers to solicit support for the union, which could include the distribution of pamphlets that criticize the employer.
Another likely stocking stuffer will be a revised “quickie election” rule, one that will shorten the time between a petition and election to as little as 10 days, a period substantially shorter than the NLRB’s current contested rule provides for. The new revised rule will, more likely than not, require that employers provide union bosses with employees’ personal contact information, including their e-mail addresses. Providing union organizers privileged and private information on employees for the purposes of visiting, calling and emailing them should send shivers down the backs of workers and small businesses alike considering Big Labor’s track record of using violence and intimidation.
And at the bottom of the Big Labor’s stocking will be gifts not to be over-looked, such as a ban on so-called “captive audience” meetings (employee-employer meetings during which unionization is discussed) and a new right which grants access to the employer’s premises by union organizers as soon as an election petition is filed.
But as significant as these stocking stuffers are, the more spectacular gifts for Big Labor will likely lie under its tree. The Board, for example, has probably already wrapped up the employer’s e-mail system to give it to Big Labor for pro-union employees to use to engage in organizing and other concerted activities. And a second box will contain collective bargaining units comprised of employees of two different employers (temporary workers employed by a temporary agency working under the employer’s direction and the employer’s other employees). This gift – while strictly prohibited by the statute – will make collective bargaining a nightmare, but will make union organizing of temporary workers easier.
But perhaps the smallest gift box under the tree will be perceived as the most valuable of all. Inside a carefully wrapped package will be a smartphone that can be used by employees to vote off-site in a union election. This “computerized card check” will give organized labor what it has always wanted: public voting and with it the opportunity to subject a worker’s vote to the scrutiny of third parties, including union bosses and organizers.
So this Christmas Day, Big Labor sees a sleigh full of presents, but it is blind to the American jobs that will be lost – in essence leaving a lump of coal for workers and small businesses.