Beware the Backdoor Card Check Bill

Unable to force the Card Check Forced Unionism bill through Congress, big labor has turned to Plan B — force the bill on the American people through administrative fiat, Chuck Hadden argues:

Union organizers are still licking their wounds over the inability to get Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

They haven’t given up, however. They have regrouped and are counting on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to give them what Congress would not. And, with the addition of two new very pro-union Democrats on the NLRB, the effort to make sweeping EFCA-like changes to established election procedures has been given a second lease on life.

On July 21, the NLRB proposed new regulations that would allow for “snap” or “quickie” elections that would effectively deny employees the ability to make fully informed decisions about whether to join a union by narrowing the timeline between filing of a petition for certification and a union election. If adopted, unions would be allowed to begin organizing a workforce secretly and then surprise an employer once enough signatures are collected. Employers would then have as little as 10 days to communicate with their employees, as compared to the 38 days (on average) that occurs under current law.

The NLRB is also set to render decisions on two pivotal cases involving Specialty Healthcare and Boeing that could significantly impact employers.

At issue in the Specialty Healthcare case would be permitting union organizers to set up micro-unions in the workplace. This would force employers to negotiate with multiple bargaining units, which would be confusing, time-consuming and, ultimately, job-killing.

The NLRB has also lodged a complaint against Boeing for opening a new facility in South Carolina alleging that Boeing set up a nonunion production there to retaliate against striking union workers in Washington state. Boeing denies the allegation and has staunchly defended the company’s decision to locate 30 percent of their production in South Carolina as a sound business move because diversifying its assembly operations makes it less vulnerable to disruptions.

Together, these three NLRB actions could have an even greater effect on employers than the Employee Free Choice Act, representing the most dramatic changes to labor election rules in 75 years.