Biden NLRB Plots Lawless War on Workers

Joe Biden-selected NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo (inset) is planning to make it an “unfair labor practice” for employers to insist their employees be allowed a secret-ballot vote before they are corralled into a union. (Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons; Inset Credit: NLRB)

Union Officials Applaud Top Board Lawyer’s ‘Card Check’ Scheme

Big Labor bosses in Washington, D.C., and other partisans of compulsory unionism are finding it hard to express how happy they are about the agenda outlined late this summer by Jennifer Abruzzo, President Joe Biden’s handpicked general counsel for the powerful National Labor Relations Board. 

In August 12 and September 8 memos distributed to NLRB regional offices, Ms. Abruzzo, until recently a top lawyer for the radical Communications Workers of America union, signaled that the agency would do whatever it could to help Big Labor grab monopoly-bargaining power over millions of additional workers.

As part of her program to assist union organizers, Ms. Abruzzo openly intends to impose potentially stiff penalties on employers simply because they insist their employees get a chance to vote in a secret-ballot election before they are subjected to union monopoly control.

“In 2009 and 2010, the Obama-Biden Administration twisted congressional arms to secure passage of the ‘Card Check’ Forced-Unionism Bill,” recalled National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. 

“This legislation would have cemented Big Labor’s power to corral employees into unions solely by collecting so-called ‘authorization’ cards workers typically sign while union organizers are watching them.

“Committee members helped lead the successful fight to block the ‘card check’ scheme. But now the Biden NLRB could effectively impose it by bureaucratic fiat, unless pro-Right to Work Americans once again mobilize to stop the power grab.”

Many Workers ‘Sign Union Cards to Get Union Organizers Off Their Backs’

For more than half a century, federal policy has generally allowed an employer who is presented by union organizers with signed cards extracted from half or more of his or her employees to insist, without further comment, that a secret-ballot election be held before the union is granted monopoly-bargaining power.

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Big Labor-inspired challenge to this policy in Linden Lumber. 

As Justice William O. Douglas explained on behalf of the court in his opinion, “the policy of encouraging secret elections . . . is favored,” under the National Labor Relations Act. 

But Ms. Abruzzo wants to make it a so-called “unfair labor practice” for an employer to refuse to recognize a union as employees’ “exclusive” spokesperson on matters considering pay, benefits, and work rules based on signed cards alone.

Nonpartisan industrial relations experts like Clark University Prof. Gary Chaison recognize that “authorization” cards are inherently unreliable because, in Dr. Chaison’s words, many workers “sign union cards to get union organizers off their backs so they can eventually vote against them in an election.”

But Ms. Abruzzo would rewrite federal law to make it permissible for employers to refuse to acquiesce to “card checks” only if they had proof of forged signatures or other flat-out fraud. She would leave them with no ability to protect their employees against Big Labor bullying, intimidation and harassment per se.

Pending Legislation Would Hand Ms. Abruzzo The Cudgel She Needs

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and other Big Labor politicians are advancing legislation that would dramatically increase Ms. Abruzzo’s ability to punish all who resist “card check” unionization of their employees.

The monstrous, $3.5 trillion budget bill that Ms. Pelosi’s House was poised to vote on as this Newsletter edition went to press includes key provisions from the cynically mislabeled “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act, or “PRO” Act, a lengthy wish list of new powers for union bosses (H.R.842/S.420).

A more accurate label for H.R.842/S.420 is the Pushbutton Unionism Bill.  

And one especially dangerous H.R.842/S.420 provision that is now part of the gargantuan budget “reconciliation” bill would authorize, for the first time, punitive fines of $50,000 to $100,000 for each individual “unfair labor practice” charge.  

“If Jennifer Abruzzo follows through on her plan to turn employer resistance to ‘card checks’ into an ‘unfair labor practice,’ and Joe Biden signs legislation authorizing punitive fines for such ‘offenses,’ the consequences for American employees and employers will be devastating,” warned Mr. Mix.

“The fact is, federal labor law shouldn’t prevent the individual employee from dealing directly with the employer regarding workplace matters, regardless of whether the business is unionized or union-free.

“But under current law the secret ballot is the primary tool employees have to avoid being yoked to an unwanted union. Effective elimination of the secret ballot in unionization campaigns would result in millions of additional workers falling under Big Labor control against their will.” 

Right to Work Members Mobilized to Contact Their Representatives, Senators

As U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas affirmed in his 1974 Linden Lumber opinion, federal policy “encourages” secret-ballot elections. But Biden bureaucrats are pushing for their near-total elimination. (Credit: The NYPR Archive Collections)

The Right to Work movement must fight back on two fronts to save workers’ ability to say “no” to Big Labor by casting a secret-ballot vote, said Mr. Mix.

“In the immediate term,” he specified, “the Committee is mobilizing members and supporters to contact their representatives and senators to urge them to oppose the so-called ‘budget-reconciliation’ scheme, unless and until all the outrageous Big Labor power grabs now embedded in the legislation are removed. 

“By dressing up punitive fines for employers who stand up for their employees’ right to a secret-ballot vote over unionization and other outrageous Big Labor power grabs as ‘budgetary’ matters, Chuck Schumer aims to pass them through the Senate solely with votes from his 50-member Democrat caucus. 

“Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie in the 100-member chamber.

“Thanks to mounting opposition from Right to Work supporters and other citizens, I am cautiously optimistic the ‘reconciliation’ scheme can be stopped.”

As the budget fight unfolds, concluded Mr. Mix, the Committee’s sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, will be preparing to mount a judicial challenge on behalf of independent-minded employees to General Counsel Abruzzo’s “card check” ploy. 

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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