WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 31, 2019) — Earlier this month, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka blasted the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after its latest actions to make it harder America’s working people to join together to negotiate for better wages, safer working conditions and respect on the job. He said the board is now populated by “corporate ideologues bent on perverting the NLRB’s long-established mandate and the law it enforces.”
This month, the NLRB ruled that employers can ban workers from using their work email and other electronic communication systems for union organizing purposes. This overrules a 2014 decision that said workers who have email access for work purposes also have a presumptive right to use the communication systems to discuss working terms and conditions.
Then the NLRB reversed the expedited elections rules that have been in place for the last five years and, effective April 16, 2020, will return to the era of employers delaying union elections long enough to eliminate union support — and supporters.
These are just two examples of a recent flurry of anti-worker NLRB decisions and actions. Here is Trumka’s Dec. 19 statement about the problem:
The NLRB is an independent federal agency with a clear mission to uphold and protect workers’ right to form unions and bargain collectively. Lauren McFerran, widely respected across the political spectrum for her intellect and fidelity to the law, carried out that mission with conscience and conviction. Unfortunately, her departure this week further depletes the Board and leaves it without a single worker-friendly voice.
The three remaining members of the Board — two former management-side lawyers and a former Republican congressional staffer — are corporate ideologues bent on perverting the NLRB’s long-established mandate and the law it enforces.
The Board’s Republican majority has engaged in a flurry of actions in recent days — all designed to make it harder to form a union and have a voice at work, including a comprehensive rewrite of the rules governing representation election that was issued without giving any notice to the public or opportunity for the labor or management communities to comment. This may sound like inside baseball, but it’s a big deal.
With more than 60 million workers who would vote to join a union today, we need an NLRB that carries out its mandate to ensure our voices are heard. That starts with a fully staffed Board through the nomination and confirmation of two Democratic members, and a return to its core mission of protecting the rights of working people.