Obama NLRB Targets Right to Work Movement

Bureaucrats Scheme to Impose Compulsory Union Fees Nationwide

(Source: May 2015 National Right to Work Newsletter)

President Barack Obama’s extremist National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has flabbergasted even some of its harshest critics by moving to overturn more than six decades of legal precedents regarding the workplace grievance privileges union bosses wield under federal law.

In unionized workplaces, a claim by any front-line employee that he or she has been harmed by a misapplication or misinterpretation of a company policy cannot be addressed in any way that is inconsistent with the contract between the company and Big Labor bosses wielding their monopoly-bargaining powers.

7b-pearceAnd federal courts and the NLRB alike have long recognized that union kingpins effectively own the process through which such grievances are handled.

For this reason, both the courts and the NLRB have up to now consistently barred Big Labor from charging union nonmembers just to get their grievances processed when union members can have their grievances processed for free.

Zealots on the NLRB Poised To Make Monopoly-Bargaining Regime Even More Unjust

But on April 15, the Obama NLRB issued a “call for briefs” signaling its intention to reverse board and court decisions going back to 1953 in order to give union bosses an unprecedented tool to eviscerate protections for employee freedom of choice in states with Right to Work laws, now 25 in number.

If radical NLRB members carry out their plan, they will greatly exacerbate the harm caused by the federal labor-law provisions that force private-sector employees in all 50 states to accept union officials as their “exclusive” bargaining agents in contract negotiations and grievance procedures.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, explained what’s at stake:

“Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees who choose not to join a union can take money out of their own pockets to pay for a nonunion lawyer to argue their grievance — then see the settlement junked by union officials because it doesn’t conform to the monopoly contract!

“Now the Obama NLRB is poised to compound the injustice for employees in Right to Work states.

“Under the proposed rule now being floated by the NLRB, any union nonmember who lives in one of these 25 states and, realizing he or she has no real choice, follows union-created grievance procedures will be forced to pay so-called ‘processing’ fees to the union.”

Thurgood-MarshallEmployee’s ‘Power to Order His Own Relations With His Employer’ Is ‘Extinguished’

Mr. Mix continued:

“Potentially, Big Labor will be entitled to sue workers who refuse to pay for grievance ‘services’ that they are effectively forced to accept.

“Nearly 50 years ago, a U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion by Justice William Brennan bluntly acknowledged that America’s national labor policy ‘extinguishes the individual employee’s power to order his own relations with his employer,’ while ‘clothing’ union bosses with monopoly-bargaining power.

“And 40 years ago, a High Court majority opinion by Justice Thurgood Marshall resoundingly affirmed that a union controls all grievances under ‘exclusive’ union bargaining, notwithstanding any employee attempts to redress grievances as individuals.

“Such unambiguous precedents are the reason why, in the past, even the most pro-Big Labor courts and NLRB appointees have never dared to try to empower union bosses to collect forced fees for grievance processing in jurisdictions where state law prohibits compulsory financial support for unions.

“But the Obama NLRB is now signaling that it is ready to boldly go where no adjudicating body has gone before, simply to placate union bosses who are upset about the spread of Right to Work protections to three new states just since the beginning of 2012.

“The National Right to Work Committee and its sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, will not take this attack on the individual employee’s freedom of choice lying down.

“We will do everything possible to sway Chairman Mark Pearce and the rest of the NLRB to back down. And if they proceed all the same with their forced-fee-for-grievances scheme, we will work tirelessly to block implementation of the new rule,” concluded Mr. Mix, who heads the Foundation as well as the Committee.

Lawmakers Can Wield Their ‘Power of the Purse String’ To Rein in Rogue NLRB

Congress has the authority under the Constitution to stop rogue agencies like the NLRB from rewriting federal law by administrative fiat. In order to do so, lawmakers normally must wield their “power of the purse string.”

This summer, as appropriations for Fiscal 2016 come up for panel votes in the U.S. House, pro-Right to Work congressmen will have the opportunity to attach a rider on the NLRB appropriation blocking implementation of any new rule authorizing forced union fees for union nonmembers.

Lawmakers who oppose compulsory unionism may also back a rider to stop the NLRB from continuing to implement the “ambush election” rules it put into effect in mid-April. One provision in this extraordinarily biased certification campaign overhaul mandates that employers hand over employee phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and work schedules to union organizers within two days after a unionization election is directed.

Right to Work Attorneys Already Fighting to Convince Radical NLRB to Back Down

Of course, as a diehard proponent of monopolistic unionism, President Obama is virtually certain to veto an NLRB appropriation containing riders blocking his extremist appointees from imposing forced fees for grievances in Right to Work states and halting “ambush elections.”

Mr. Mix vowed to mobilize Committee members and supporters from across the country to contact self-avowed foes of forced unionism in Congress again and again and encourage them to make it plain to the President they will never back down and send him an NLRB appropriation without such riders.

“Without a doubt, this is an uphill battle. But it is a winnable one,” said Mr. Mix.

“And Right to Work supporters are not relying exclusively on their congressional allies to stop the NLRB in its tracks.

“Last month, Foundation attorneys asked the NLRB to accept a brief they had submitted on behalf of four employees from Right to Work states who believe they are harmed by being subject to union monopoly bargaining, never requested it, and do not wish to pay for it.

“The brief urges the NLRB not to abandon its own 39-year-old ruling in Machinists Local 697 and a host of other decisions prohibiting the forced exaction of fees for grievances from union nonmembers in Right to Work states.

“And in case Mark Pearce and his cohorts ignore Foundation attorneys, their clients, and their allies, and press ahead with their proposed new forced-fee rule, Foundation attorneys are already preparing to do battle with the NLRB in court.”