13 August 2013
It is now official. Barack Obama’s union-dominated National Labor Relations Board is now up to its full anti-employer potential with AFL-CIO attorney Nancy Schiffer and union lawyer Kent Hirozawa being sworn in, along with union attorney Mark Pearce resuming his role as chairman.
This is the first time the NLRB has had five sitting members since 2003, when Democrats began crippling George Bush’s NLRB in an effort to diminish its capacity on rulings.
While two Republicans, Harry I. Johnson, III and Philip A. Miscimarra were also sworn in, they are in the minority and, as a result, will only be useful for their dissent (which can sometimes be useful in federal courts).
Although Obama’s NLRB had been stymied for a period of time, thanks to the bi-partisan deal cutting by Senate Republicans, union-free employers are facing a more hostile environment not seen for the last 30 years or more.
In addition to scores of pro-union rulings that will likely continue on a case by case basis, via the attorneys at Labor Relations Today, two of the major “macro” issues that are of importance to America’s union-free workplace are:
- “Quickie” Election Procedures: [aka "Ambush" elections] This Board is very likely, however, to revisit its effort to facilitate union organizing by drastically shortening the timeframe for union representation elections….There can be little doubt that, notwithstanding much public comment and controversy, the Board will return to its original proposals on this issue, and will attempt to implement these changes once again without concern over procedural and quorum defects.
- Proliferation of Micro-Units: The 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, which reversed decades of Board precedent and endorsed sub-unit organizing, was decided by four Board Members….Accordingly, we might expect this Board to continue to define the scope and extent to which the traditional “community of interest” test will be minimized as unions seek to organize smaller and/or cobbled-together groups of employees within workplaces.
- For a more detailed explanation (and example) of micro units, go here.
As unions begin to find more fertile ground with Obama’s NLRB, America’s union-free employers (and employees) will be under greater threat of unionization.
While there are many lawful ways to combat unionization, the most effective way is to ensure that open lines of communication exist between employees an employers–making unions unnecessary.
Although Obama’s NLRB may be locked and loaded, removing oneself as a target is the surest way not to get hit.