‘Each of these Board-invented doctrines actively undermines the NLRA’s central premise by trapping workers in unions…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) A prominent workers’ rights group is asking the National Labor Relations Board to roll back rules blatantly favoring labor unions at the expense of workers.
Specifically, following the Supreme Court’s landmark Janus decision in June—which said public-sector workers cannot be compelled to pay dues to unions they disagree with—the pro-free-market National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation wants other rules nixed that are continuing to trap workers into unions even if they don’t want to belong to one.
The National Labor Relations Board is a government agency responsible for enforcing labor laws in relation to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices. Under the Obama administration, it morphed into a pro-union clearinghouse.
Currently, unions are bureaucratically protected from being accountable to workers, as past labor rules make it effectively illegal for workers to “decertify,” or fire, their unions.
According to statements Board members recently made at an American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Conference in San Francisco, the NLRB intends to use an upcoming rule-making period this winter to address two related policies, known as the “blocking charge” policy and the “voluntary recognition bar” doctrine.
“Blocking charge” policies allow union officials to file unfair labor practice charges to block worker decertification petitions, even when a majority of employees sign a petition to do so.
The “voluntary recognition bar” rule prevents workers from holding secret ballot votes to decertify a union for at least a year, and potentially up to four years, after union officials force workers into union representation.
Under Trump, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is hoping for more favorable outcomes. But the group says the current rule-making agenda isn’t enough.
A letter sent to the NLRB on Monday urges the inclusion of all doctrines created by past Board members meant to restrict union decertification elections, specifically the “successor bar,” the “settlement bar” and the “contract bar.”
The “successor bar” blocks workers from decertifying a union for an indefinite amount of time after the previous employer has been replaced by a successor.
The “settlement bar” rule prevents workers from removing an unwanted union after a settlement agreement between a union and their employer.
The “contract bar” restricts when workers can file decertification petitions to a narrow window of time that may occur only once in three years.
“These restrictive doctrines have granted power to union bosses at the expense of the rights of the employees whose choice the National Labor Relations Act purports to protect,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“Each of these Board-invented doctrines actively undermines the NLRA’s central premise by trapping workers in unions that lack the support of a majority of workers, which is why the announced rulemaking should eliminate all of these non-statutory barriers to holding decertification votes,” Mix said.