Trump Labor Board Makes Slow Progress

During the Obama years, Chairman Mark Pearce and his NLRB collaborators, including Kent Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer (photo), waged war on the Right to Work. Undoing the damage is a monumental task. Credit: Schiffer/Hirozawa – Reuters/Larry Downing

Obama Bureaucrats’ Pro-Forced Unionism Legacy Mostly Still Intact

This winter, pro-Right to Work citizens across the country are contacting the White House to urge President Donald Trump not to nominate a radical proponent of coercive legal privileges for union officials to fill either of the two current vacancies on the five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

During his successful campaign for a four-year term in the White House, Mr. Trump pledged to support American employees’ Right to Work across the board.

Four years ago this month, his campaign returned Mr. Trump’s completed and signed Survey 2016 Presidential Questionnaire. He answered all nine questions in the affirmative, including #4:

“If elected, will you nominate [NLRB] members . . . who are committed to eliminating Ambush Elections, restoring workers’ right to challenge union card check certification and reversing recent NLRB decisions that have expanded union officials’ power over independent-minded workers?”

Extremist Obama Appointee Was Renominated in 2018

After Mr. Trump entered the Oval Office, he did in fact appoint several new NLRB members who are now taking steps to reverse the ill-disguised effort, finalized in April 2015, by the Obama NLRB to bolster monopolistic unionism across America that is commonly, and aptly, labeled as “Ambush Elections.”

Justice Stevens: Under federal law, employees have a “right to receive information opposing unionization.” Credit: Supreme Court Historical Society

The Trump NLRB has also sought to undo some of the manifold other power grabs against employees’ personal freedom carried out by the Obama NLRB.

On the other hand, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) smooth-talked the White House in August 2018 into nominating former Obama-selected NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce for another term on the powerful board.

Fortunately, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), after being contacted by Right to Work supporters across the country mobilized by the Committee, refused to bring the Pearce nomination up for a U.S. Senate vote.

It died on January 3, 2019, at the conclusion of the 115th Congress.

Employees’ Phone Numbers, E-Mail Addresses Must Be Given to Union Organizers

Mr. Pearce is a former Big Labor lawyer who, through his NLRB years, rarely hesitated to wield his bureaucratic clout to push through effective rewrites of federal law for the purpose of making it even easier for union officials to corral workers into their organizations.

Specifically, as NLRB chairman during the Obama years, he led the charge for Ambush Elections.

This scheme dramatically shortened the amount of time that workers have to share information with one another about the possible ill effects of unionization.

The Ambush Election rules even expressly allowed unionization elections to occur when up to 20% of the workers casting ballots might potentially be ineligible to vote!

“The forced-unionism cheerleaders who rubber-stamped Ambush Elections actually claimed that it’s fair for federal bureaucrats to wait until after a unionization ballot occurs to decide whose votes should count, and whose shouldn’t,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“But any nonpartisan observer could see that what Obama NLRB appointees were really doing was empowering the agency’s union boss-‘friendly’ bureaucrats to manipulate the certification process to make it highly unlikely a Big Labor unionization campaign would fail.”

Other provisions in the certification-campaign overhaul mandated that employers hand over employee phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and work schedules to union organizers within two days after an election was directed.

Employers were required to hand over to union organizers the personal information of all employees who might be unionized, including employees who personally asked their employer not to do it. 

Undoing NLRB Damage Takes a Great Deal of Resolve

At the beginning of the Trump presidency, millions of freedom-loving Americans were hopeful that Ambush Elections and other egregious expansions of Big Labor’s compulsory-unionism privileges perpetrated by the Obama NLRB would be rolled back.

Right to Work Committee members were also hopeful. And in 2017 the Committee’s sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, supplied the Trump White House with a detailed list of what could and should be done at the NLRB.  

At the same time, Right to Work leaders were mindful of the fact that undoing the damage done by the Obama NLRB would require a great deal of resolve, as a report appearing in the February 2017 edition of this Newsletter emphasized.

Thanks in part to the persistent prodding of grassroots Right to Work supporters, progress is now being made on the Ambush Elections front.

New Rules Afford Employees Significantly More Time To Discuss Pros and Cons

On December 13, the Trump NLRB announced it was reversing several of the key provisions in the Ambush Elections scheme, so as to make it less difficult for employees who oppose being subjected to union monopoly control to resist a Big Labor takeover of their workplace.

For example, once these procedural changes take effect this April, questions about who is eligible to vote in a unionization election will have to be litigated before the election takes place, rather than after.

Moreover, elections will take place no sooner than the 20th business day after they are directed, rather than the “earliest date practicable,” as has been the case since 2015.

This will make it far less difficult for workers to actually exercise their “right to receive information opposing unionization,” which federal labor law accords them, as former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens acknowledged in a 2008 majority opinion.

“Much remains to be done,” emphasized Mr. Mix.

“For example, the partial rollback of Ambush Elections announced in December leaves in place the requirement that employee phone numbers, e-mail addresses and work schedules be turned over to Big Labor, regardless of their wishes. Only the timing of the handover has changed modestly.

“With much of the Obama Administration’s forced-unionism legacy still in place, the last thing the Trump team should be doing now is putting up a new roadblock against restoring protections for the individual employee.”