-By Warner Todd Huston
With this week’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of American Airlines, we again see the results of unions having a hand in destroying American businesses. We also saw GM laid low by union demands costing Americans billions in bailouts. But despite these lessons of the recalcitrance of Big Labor forcing even worse calamities on our jobs climate in this dismal economy, Obama is about to make matters worse by using his powers to regulate to further harm both our business sector and our economy.
Obama likes to stand before the American people and claim that he wants to “help” the business sector. He claims that his crony capitalism is meant to “save” those businesses that are “too big to fail.” But while he stands before the microphones and pretends at being interested in capitalism, he wields his powers to regulate like a club with which to beat down the business sector.
Obama’s latest move — among dozens in the last three years — is to have a regulatory board he controls to issue new rules which would make it harder on business owners to prepare themselves and inform their employees on what it might mean to unionize their workplace.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is supposed to be an arbiter between business and labor. It is supposed to be a non-partisan watchdog standing between the two groups as an impartial judge. But since Obama took office the NLRB has been swung solidly on the side of the far left, union bosses — Obama’s biggest campaign fund donors. Obama has taken the NLRB from a non-partisan judge to a fully partisan actor for unions.
This time the NLRB is mulling changes in labor laws that would take away the time that business owners have to respond to unions that want to unionize workers. Currently that response time is up to six weeks, but Obama wants that cut down to ten days. As proposed by NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, the changes to current practice are:
(1) a shortened time period between the filing of the initial election petition and election date
(2) post-election NLRB review of contested issues previously resolved prior to the election
(3) increased disclosure requirements for employers.
“If adopted as currently proposed, the most significant loss to employers will be time — time to design an appropriate campaign message and a legal strategy to protect their interests and ensure the workforce can cast fully informed votes,” notes Bob Quackenboss, partner at Hunton & Williams LLP in Washington, DC.
“The solution is for employers to work with legal counsel and labor consultants to plan for elections ahead of time, leaving only ‘fine tuning’ for the shortened campaign period. Organized Labor has been perfecting its campaign message for years; early preparation by employers will ensure they do not get caught flat-footed once a petition is filed,” adds Quackenboss.
Another change that Obama wants to force on America’s business sector is something called “micro unions.” He wants to allow as few as three workers to be able to start a union. This could cause employers to have to deal with innumerable small groupings of their employees starting mini unions throughout their businesses. Imagine the confusion, disruption and cost this will incur.
There is a bill being considered in the House today that will curtail some of Obama’s partisan moves to attack the business sector and further dampen our economy. The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act introduced by John Kline (R, Minn.) seeks to head off the NLRB’s new rules.
“It’s very clear to me that we’re seeing the rights of employers and employees under attack,” said Mr. Kline, adding, “I expect overwhelming support from my side of the aisle.”
Mr. Kline’s bill addresses this sharp cut in the days leading up to unionization. He would require at least 14 days before a pre-election hearing is held, giving employers more time to find a legal team and build their case. He would also require a minimum of 35 days — about the current average — before a vote can be taken.
We need to stop Obama’s attack on the business sector. Call your House members today and tell them you support Kline’s bill.
Also, feel free to sign the petition below to send a message to Congress and the President.