ICYMI: Bipartisan Consensus Exists Around Undoing New Joint Employer Rule

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
June 22, 2017                                                                                                      202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Bipartisan Consensus Exists Around Undoing New Joint Employer Rule

Heather Greenaway
June 21, 2017
InsideSources

Last November, Americans voted for change from the previous eight years. The economy was perceived to remain sluggish, wages stagnated and businesses felt squeezed by their own government. Among all the new government regulations and mandates that employers faced on multiple fronts, one of the worst anti-business offenders was the National Labor Relations Board.

President Obama’s NLRB was stacked with Big Labor allies and its decisions benefited them time and again. From rulings permitting micro unions — small, hand-selected groups of employee units — to permitting the disclosure of employee personal information to union organizers to expediting the election timeframe to ambush workers, Obama’s labor board took away worker freedoms and handed them to special interests in the labor movement.

One such decision was establishing the new joint employer standard, which turned the established franchise model on its head and changed decades of labor law. This standard, which was modified in 2015 by the Browning-Ferris ruling, marked a drastic change concerning business liability and workplace law violations.

Before 2015, the standard was that employers were responsible only for those employees whom they had direct authority over in the workplace. However, the new standard established a policy where liability was expanded to businesses that did not have direct purview over workplace employees.

This confusing and vague regulation had the potential to cripple small businesses, particularly franchises, as parent companies would now be faced with liability of their franchisee’s employees.

This confusion created a difficult business environment for many local employers, such as franchisees, raising questions whether investment was wise and sound. One factor that differentiates franchises is that they provide ready-made opportunities for entrepreneurs who can work with established brands and bring jobs and economic investment to a community.

According to a September 2016 study by the International Franchise Association, franchises generate $674 billion in economic impact and provide more than 7.6 million jobs. For such large economic drivers, it is important that the government create an environment encouraging growth and hiring, not burdensome and confusing regulations that impede increases in employment and market expansion.

That is why Republicans and Democrats alike have spoken out about the new joint employer standard. In an era where there are few examples of bipartisanship, elected officials on both sides of the aisle — such as Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Henry Cuellar of Texas and Jim Costa of California, and Republicans Dave Brat of Virginia, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and Andy Barr of Kentucky — have come together to denounce this threat to local ownership.

They join many in the business community who were pleased to see that the Department of Labor recently announced that it was withdrawing its informal guidance on new joint employment standards. This important measure clarifies the law’s current interpretation and returns to the pre-2015 status in a welcome change, which demonstrates that the new administration is committed to working with employers, both big and small, to ensure that they are positioned to succeed.

While this progress should be heartening for American workers and businesses alike, more must be done to roll back the NLRB’s joint employer standard and other labor rulings by the Obama NLRB. The Labor Department’s decision on the new joint employer standard is welcomed as it shows there are policies that merit both Republican and Democratic consensus. But to be clear, more work needs to be done to make certain union leaders are not dictating our country’s labor policies and the interests of workers are placed above all else.

Heather Greenaway is a national spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute.

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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What They’re Saying About The Joint Employer Rule

What They’re Saying About The Joint Employer Rule
Democrats, Republicans, Business Groups & Editorial Boards Slam NLRB Policy

Congressional Democrats Have Spoken Out Against The Joint Employer Rule:

 Representative Collin Peterson Said The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Joint Employer Decision Was “Threatening Local Ownership By Unwinding The Very Existence Of The Franchise Model.” “Sadly, a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is threatening local ownership by unwinding the very existence of the franchise model.  Fortunately, there is a bipartisan solution to the new ‘joint employer’ standard that can protect small businesses before it’s too late.” (Representatives Rodney Davis & Collin Peterson, “Stopping The Corporate Takeover Of Main Street,” The Hill, 5/18/16)

  • Representative Peterson: “Make No Mistake, The Worst Victims Will Be Locally Owned Small Businesses.” “The impact of this decision could reach employers large and small in nearly every business in America but make no mistake, the worst victims will be locally owned small businesses.” (Representatives Rodney Davis & Collin Peterson, “Stopping The Corporate Takeover Of Main Street,” The Hill, 5/18/16)

Representative Jim Costa Signed A Letter That Called For A One-Year Hold On The NLRB’s Joint Employer Definition:

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 (MacArthur-Cuellar Letter, franchise.org, Accessed 6/12/17)

In 2016, Representative Henry Cuellar Pushed To Block The NLRB’s Joint Employer Ruling. “Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) June 21 said he has asked House appropriators to add language to an upcoming spending bill that would block the National Labor Relations Board’s recent joint employer ruling.” (Chris Opfer, “Democrat Pushes Rider To Block NLRB’s Joint Employer Ruling,” Bloomberg BNA, 6/22/16)

  • In A 2017 Op-Ed, Representatives Cuellar And MacArthur Called On Congressmen To Prevent The New Joint Employer Standard From Becoming Law. “We have heard from small business owners throughout our districts and the country who are concerned about the potential impact the joint employer rule will have on their business. Small business owners deserve better and we call on our colleagues from both parties to support them and prevent this harmful regulation from becoming law of the land.” (Representatives Tom MacArthur And Henry Cuellar, “Congress Must Stop Harmful NLRB Joint Employer Rule,” The Hill, 4/10/17)

Then-Representative Brad Ashford Supported “Blocking The Joint Employer Standard.” “Rep. Brad Ashford is a Nebraska Democrat who supports blocking the joint employer standard.  Ian Lee, a spokesman for Ashford, said the congressman believes a significant number of Democrats would be open to blocking it, too.  ‘Congressman Ashford has engaged in numerous informal conversations with colleagues on this issue and believes there is a universe of around 50 pro-small business Democrats that potentially would support this legislation,’ Lee said.” (Dave Jamieson, “Congress May Give A Big Christmas Gift To McDonald’s This Year,” The Huffington Post, 12/10/15)

Republican Members Of Congress Have Gone After The Joint Employer Rule As Well:

 Senator Lamar Alexander And Representative John Kline: “The NLRB’s New Joint Employer Standard Would Make Big Businesses Bigger And The Middle Class Smaller.” ‘“The NLRB’s new joint employer standard would make big businesses bigger and the middle class smaller by discouraging companies from franchising and contracting work to small businesses.’” (Tim Devaney, “Republicans Take Aim At NLRB’s ‘Joint Employer’ Ruling,” The Hill, 9/9/15)

  • The Two Said The Rule Would “Wreak Havoc On Families And Small Businesses Across The Country.” ‘“The board’s effort to redefine the idea of what it means to be an employer will wreak havoc on families and small businesses across the country.’” (Tim Devaney, “Republicans Take Aim At NLRB’s ‘Joint Employer’ Ruling,” The Hill, 9/9/15)

Senator Alexander Called The Decision “The Biggest Attack On The Opportunity For Small Businessmen And Women … To Make Their Way Into The Middle Class.”  “‘The NLRB’s joint-employer decision was the biggest attack on the opportunity for small businessmen and women in this country to make their way into the middle class that anyone has seen in a long time – threatening to destroy the American Dream for owners of the nation’s 780,000 franchise location – and that threat increased when the agency in charge of worker protections attempted implementing its own joint employer enforcement,’ said Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).” (Press Release, “Alexander: Secretary Acosta Begins Rollback Of Obama-Era Assault On Franchise Model, Restores Focus To Worker Protections,” U.S. Senate Committee On Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, 6/7/17)

Representative Tim Walberg: “Once Again The Administration Is Pushing Regulatory Policies That Will Harm The Workers And Job Creators They Claim They Want To Help.” ‘“Once again, the administration is pushing regulatory policies that will harm the workers and job creators they claim they want to help.  This is part of a larger effort that will threaten the livelihoods of small business owners and destroy opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs to succeed in today’s economy.’” (Press Release, “Walberg Statement On Labor Department’s Joint Employer ‘Guidance,’” Representative Tim Walberg, 1/20/16)

  • Representative Walberg On Joint Employer Standard: “Will Destroy Jobs And Make It Harder For Entrepreneurs And Small Businesses To Pursue The American Dream.” “It’s why the board endorsed a new joint employer standard that will destroy jobs and make it harder for entrepreneurs and small businesses to pursue the American dream.” (Hearing, U.S. House Of Representatives Education And The Workforce Committee, Representative Tim Walberg, 2/14/17)

Representative Virginia Foxx Called The Joint Employer Rule A “Flawed” Policy. “‘The committee has long led the fight against flawed policies that hurt working families and small businesses – including the fiduciary rule and joint-employer decision – and we remain committed to getting the job done.’” (Tyrone Richardson, “Congress Faces Uncertain Future Looking To Erase Some Of The Past,” Bloomberg BNA, 4/24/17)

Representative Bradley Byrne: “The New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard Directly Threatens The Livelihoods Of Thousands Of American Workers.” “The new ‘joint employer’ standard directly threatens the livelihoods of thousands of American workers – the very people who feel the government is leaving them behind.  According to FRANdata, an independent franchise-information firm, an estimated 600,000 American jobs, from more than 40,000 different businesses, could either be lost or not created within the franchise industry because of the joint employer ruling.  We should expect additional job losses in other parts of the American economy.” (Representative Bradley Byrne, “Congress Must Act Against New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard,” The Hill, 12/14/16)

  • Representative Byrne: “There May Be No Regulation That Threatens To Crush Small Businesses And Working People More.” “There may be no regulation that threatens to crush small businesses and working people more than a recent ruling from the National Labor Relations Board relating to the definition of a ‘joint employer.’” (Representative Bradley Byrne, “Congress Must Act Against New ‘Joint Employer’ Standard,” The Hill, 12/14/16)

Representative Tom Cole: “I’m Deeply Disturbed By The NLRB’s Review Of Its Current Joint Employer Standard.” “Finally, I’m deeply disturbed by the NLRB’s review of its current joint employer standard.  Recent complaints issued against McDonald’s for employment decisions, which are the sole responsibility of independent franchise owners, suggest that will come out of this review.  The trial bar must be thrilled because I can understand who else would benefit from this.” (Hearing, “Rep. Tom Cole Holds A Hearing On The National Labor Relations Board Budget For F.Y. 2016,” House Committee On Appropriations, Subcommittee On Labor, Health And Human Services, Education, And Related Agencies, 3/24/15)

Senator Johnny Isakson: “The Obama Administration’s Standard For Who Qualifies As A Joint Employer Essentially Made The Big Guys Bigger While Putting The Small Guys Out Of Business.” “The Obama administration’s standard for who qualifies as a joint employer essentially made the big guys bigger while putting the small guys out of business.  I applaud President Trump and his administration for returning the focus on how to create more opportunities for small businesses to grow.  I look forward to confirming the president’s full list of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board so that we can completely undo this misguided labor precedent.” (Press Release, “Isakson Hails Progress Toward Rollback Of Harmful Joint-Employer Ruling,” Senator Johnny Isakson, 6/7/17)

  • Senator Isakson: “Changing The Joint-Employer Standard Will Impede Franchising By Taking Away The Benefits Of A Small Entrepreneur.” “Changing the joint-employer standard will impede franchising by taking away the benefits of a small entrepreneur being able to start a small business and grow it using a brand name that was established by a major corporation. If you take away incentives for corporations to franchise, the results will be similar to what we have already seen in so many oversteps by the Obama administration and the NLRB: making the big guys bigger and putting the small guys out of business.  Instead, this administration should be focusing on how to create more opportunities for small businesses to grow.” (Press Release, “Legislation Will Roll Back Labor Decision That ‘Threatens To Steal The American Dream From Owners Of The Nation’s 780,000 Franchise Businesses And Millions Of Contractors,’” S. Senate HELP Committee, 9/9/15)

Senator Mike Lee On The Joint Employer Decision: “A Slew Of Partisan, Controversial And Disruptive Opinions.” “Announcing his measure Monday, Lee also cited the NLRB’s joint-employer decision, calling it one of ‘a slew of partisan, controversial and disruptive opinions.’” (Matthew Bultman, “GOP Senator Introduces Bill To Strip NLRB Powers,” Law 360, 9/29/15)

Coalitions And Organizations Have Also Been Vocal In Opposing The Standard:

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA): “Expanding The Joint Employer Status Would Collapse The Franchising Model And Extinguish Aspirations Of Business Ownership.” (AH&LA, www.ahla.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

The Coalition For A Democratic Workplace (CDW): “The Changes … Disrupted Decades Of Established Labor Law And Undermined The Relationships Between A Brand Company And Local Franchise Business Owners.” “The changes by the Obama Board disrupted decades of established labor law and undermined the relationships between a brand company and local franchise business owners, contractors and subcontractors, and businesses and suppliers and vendors – all of which have created millions of jobs and allowed hundreds of thousands of individuals to achieve the American Dream of owning their own small business.” (CDW, myprivateballot.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

  • CDW: “Reestablish The Previous Joint Employer Standard.” “A new Congress, President and NLRB must move immediately to reestablish the previous joint employer standard in order to protect vitally important business relationships that create jobs, strengthen the American economy, and provide avenues for the American Dream.” (CDW, com, Accessed 6/12/17)

NATSO: “Broadening The Standard Will Expose More Companies To Legal Liability For How Their Subcontractors, Staffing Agencies And Franchisees Treat Their Employees.” “Broadening the standard will expose more companies to legal liability for how their subcontractors, staffing agencies and franchisees treat their employees.  The ruling also makes businesses more susceptible to workforce unionization by imposing new collective bargaining obligations and allowing unions the ability to strike or picket a large corporate entity rather than the individual location where there is a dispute.” (NATSO, www.natso.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

In 2016, The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Released A Report That Called For Congress To Defund The National Labor Relations Board’s Joint Employer Framework. “Competitive Enterprise Institute’s report called on Congress to defund the NLRB’s implementation of the new joint employer framework, which was established last year by a divided five-member NLRB panel in a case involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc.” (Vin Gurrieri, “Think Tank Says NLRB Joint Employer Rule Harmful To Biz,” Law 360, 8/3/16)

  • CEI’s Trey Kovacs Said The New Standard “Will Mean Greater Uncertainty And Exposure To Liability For Businesses Already Trying To Weather Tough Economic Times.” “Report author Trey Kovacs, a policy analyst at nonprofit CEI, said in a statement that the new joint employer rules ‘will mean greater uncertainty and exposure to liability for businesses already trying to weather tough economic times.’” (Vin Gurrieri, “Think Tank Says NLRB Joint Employer Rule Harmful To Biz,” Law 360, 8/3/16)

International Franchise Association (IFA) President Robert Cresanti Urged Lawmakers To Include Language In A Federal Spending Bill That Would End The New Standard. “‘We urge appropriators to include this language in the funding bills and end this government overreach and reject once and for all massive state of confusion and the politically-motivated re-alignment of traditional and well-established employment structure,’ stated Cresanti.” (Press Release, “Congressional Leaders Call For Delay Of Harmful New Joint Employer Standard,” IFA, 4/6/17)

  • IFA Also Said The Joint Employer Standard “Has Curtailed Job Creation By Franchise Business Owners And Other Small Businesses.” “The impact of the expansion of the joint employer standard has been the subject of extensive debate in the House and Senate, as it has curtailed job creation by franchise business owners and other small businesses due to the uncertainty created by the potentially limitless liability standard.” (Press Release, “IFA Applauds First Steps Taken To Roll Back Unlimited Joint Employer Standard,” IFA, 6/7/17)

National Federation Of Independent Businesses (NFIB): “Small Businesses Won’t Be Out Of The Woods” Until NLRB Ends Joint Employer Standard. “While the Secretary of Labor’s action today is progress, according to Duggan, small businesses won’t be out of the woods until the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reverses its controversial Browning-Ferris decision on joint employer or Congress acts to overturn it.” (Press Release, “Small Business Welcomes Decision To Withdraw Joint Employer,” NFIB, 6/7/17)

National Restaurant Association (NRA): “A Long-Held Standard For Determining The ‘Joint-Employer’ Status Of Franchisors And Franchisees Is Under Attack.” (NRA, www.restaurant.org, Accessed 6/12/17)

  • NRA Added The Board Was Moving To Undercut The Traditional Standard To Boost Labor Unions And Their Allies. “The National Labor Relations Board is moving to undercut the standard that has been the bedrock of the franchisor/franchisee model for the last three decades, in support of labor unions and their worker-center allies who are using this issue as part of a large effort to bolster union membership.” (NRA, restaurant.org, Accessed 6/12/17)

National Retail Federation (NRF) Called The Ruling An Example Of “Unelected Government Bureaucrats Creating Roadblocks In The Path Of Job Creation.” “The National Retail Federation (NRF) denounced the ruling as an instance of ‘unelected government bureaucrats creating roadblocks in the path of job creation.’” (Tim Devaney, “NLRB Rules Against Business In Pivotal Joint-Employer Decision,” The Hill, 8/27/15)

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Said Business Models Are Under Threat Because Of The NLRB’s Decision. “Despite their overwhelming successes, these business models are under threat.  On August 27, 2015, the Obama NLRB issued a decision in a case called Browning-Ferris that essentially rewrote the so-called ‘joint-employer’ standard.” (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, “Protect Small Business Owners by Restoring Proper Definition of Joint Employer,” www.uschamber.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

  • S. Chamber: “Overturn Browning-Ferris And Return To The Prior Joint Employer Standard.” “Once the Trump administration has appointed new members, the NLRB should: Overturn Browning-Ferris and return to the prior joint employer standard.” (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, “Protect Small Business Owners by Restoring Proper Definition of Joint Employer,” www.uschamber.com, Accessed 6/12/17)

Editorials Across The Country Slammed The NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision:

The Wall Street Journal: Joint Employer Decision “Sure To Harm Diverse Industries In Every State.” “[The NLRB] handed down a new joint-employer standard that radically rewrites U.S. labor law and upends thousands of business relationships … Labor unions are celebrating a decision sure to harm diverse industries in every state.” (Editorial, “NLRB’s Joint Employer Attack,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/28/15)

The Detroit News: “Joint Employer Rule Could Fundamentally Harm A Wide Range Of U.S. Businesses.” “Last week, the National Labor Relations Board gave unions a big win – even by the Obama administration’s labor-friendly standards.  While that’s good news for labor supporters, the so-called new joint employer rule could fundamentally harm a wide range of U.S. businesses.” (Editorial, “Our Editorial: NLRB Ruling Hits Entrepreneurs,” The Detroit News, 9/3/15)

The Orange County Register: Rulings Implications Are “Ominous.” “If this ruling stands, the implications for the fast-food business and other industries that rely on the franchise model will be ominous … There’s no compelling reason to upset the legal arrangements that have served franchised businesses well for decades.  What makes this decision even worse is that it emanated from an unelected agency accountable to no one.  This decision ought to be overturned on appeal – and Congress ought to severely constrain the powers of the NLRB, which increasingly operates as a rogue agency.” (Editorial, “Editorial: NLRB Out Of Control,” The Orange County Register, 8/17/14)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: NLRB “Has Declared War On Small Businesses.” “State and federal regulators have long recognized this separation between corporation and franchisee, but if a recent, baseless order from the National Labor Relations Board’s top prosecutor stands, that separation could disappear – and unions will get a huge boost in their long-running efforts to organize the fast-food industry and win a job-killing minimum wage increase … The NLRB, with President Barack Obama’s full support, has declared war on small businesses, including thousands of Nevada operations. Is there no limit to the economic harm this administration has caused?” (Editorial, “Editorial: NLRB’s Franchise Ruling Threatens Owners, Workers,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/5/14)

Charleston [WV] Gazette-Mail: “American Businesses Don’t Have Infinite Amounts Of Money To Pay Heavy Fines And Comply With Unnecessary Regulation.” “The National Labor Relations Board’s Democratic majority voted last week to radically rewrite labor law and expand joint employer liability – a move that affects thousands of small businesses, franchisees, temp agencies and subcontractors across the country … Thursday’s ruling throws previous policies out the window … Contrary to what Obama seems to think, the majority of American businesses don’t have infinite amounts of money to pay heavy fines and comply with unnecessary regulation.  Nor do they have the time, resources and manpower to spend when employees they only tangentially manage file grievances against their employer.” (Editorial, “Daily Mail Editorial: Labor Ruling Another Example Of Overreach,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 9/1/15)

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ICYMI: It Is Time For Government To Protect Not Threaten American Workers

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
June 16, 2017                                                                                                      202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

It Is Time For Government To Protect Not Threaten American Workers

Heather Greenaway
June 15, 2017
The Hill

To most observers, the past eight years have been a boon for Big Labor. During the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ran over the rights of employees and employers alike. Not only was the timeframe for a union election shortened to as few as 11 days with the ambush election decision, but a historic amount of personal information is now allowed to flow into the hands of union organizers, which has quite predictably led to employee harassment and intimidation.

Thankfully, there are two pieces of legislation that were recently introduced into the Congress that will help correct these workplace issues both caused by the NLRB.  The Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775) and Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776) will help give workers back their privacy and freedom to vote their conscience in fair union elections.

The NLRB’s decision to allow a significantly shorter timeframe for union elections tipped the scales toward labor organizers who were then able to quietly plan and secure support ambushing workers and businesses with an election.

This gave employers as few as 11 days to prepare their side, and present to their employees the pros and cons of unionization. With management in businesses – many of whom are small with dozens of employees – having such little time to prepare, their workers are not able to hear legitimate concerns that could materially impact their decision whether or not to support the formation of a collective bargaining unit.

Further, the NLRB’s ruling in 2011 in Specialty Healthcare allowing for the formation of so-called micro-unions was especially egregious.  Micro-unions are disruptive to workplaces, make it harder for employers to run their businesses and place immense pressure on workers.  Just as bad, the policy does not require labor organizers to win elections with the majority of the workforce favoring the formation of a collective bargaining unit; instead, union organizers are allowed to hand-pick and sort sub-groups of employees predisposed to be favorable to representation.

Beyond handing control over the labor organizing process to union bosses, the NLRB has overstepped its bounds by forcing employers to disclose large amounts of personal employee information to organizers. The NLRB is now mandating that employers take worker information, which was provided with an understanding it would be protected and used should notifications be warranted under circumstances such as a workplace emergencies, and send it to labor organizers, without ever needing employee approval.

While it is deeply troubling that our government is forcing employers to share personal information such as employee names, work schedules and locations, email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers, it has far more wide-ranging consequences.  By giving union organizers this information, the government is virtually sanctioning worker intimidation and harassment on the part of labor organizers who show up at homes seeking a signature for union authorization cards.

Taken together, H.R 2775 and H.R. 2776 would end the government overreach into workplaces hurting employees and tipping the scales in favor of union bosses. The Employee Privacy Protection Act would give employees the ability to control what private information is disclosed to unions and which method is preferred for communicating. The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act would extend the amount of time that an organizing election could take place allowing all parties involved to present their side, while restoring the traditional standard regarding what constitutes a bargaining unit.

It is past time Congress show American workers they are on their side and these two bills are important steps in that direction.  Both demand expedited attention and passage in the U.S. House.

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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WFI LETTER: Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775) & Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776)

WFI

 

 

June 14, 2017

The Honorable Virginia Foxx
Chairwoman
Committee on Education and the Workforce
U.S. House
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Robert C. Scott
Ranking Member
Committee on Education and the Workforce
U.S. House
Washington, DC 20515

Re: Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775), Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776), Representation Fairness Restoration Act (H.R. 2629) and Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2723)

Dear Chairman, Ranking Member & Members of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce,

On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), an organization devoted to educating workers, their employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace, we write today in strong support of two recently introduced pieces of legislation: Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775) and Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776).

The Employer Privacy Protection Act assures worker privacy is protected, which has been put at risk by the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  We are very pleased that H.R. 2775 would enact safeguards for employees so that their personal information cannot be used improperly by union organizers.

As it stands now, labor organizers have access to far too much employee information, such as workers’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, and work schedules and locations.  By allowing employees the ability to determine which contact information is shared by their employer and their preferred method of communication, this legislation will once again give workers the power over their personal information.

Further, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act would roll back the NLRB’s decision in 2015 to codify ambush elections, which unnecessarily expedites labor elections affording workers as few as 11 days to determine whether to support or oppose a collective bargaining unit.

By protecting workers’ rights and setting the minimum time for labor elections at a reasonable 35 days, employees will have sufficient time to ask questions and receive answers concerning the union election process.  Additionally, employers are provided 14 days to prepare their case to an NLRB election representative, which also gives them the necessary time to appropriately engage concerning workplace organizing efforts.

H.R. 2776 also addresses the NLRB’s ruling in Specialty Healthcare, an egregious decision handed down in 2011 that allowed for the formation of so-called micro-unions.  Micro-unions are disruptive to workplaces and make it harder for employers to run their businesses, while allowing labor organizers to place immense pressure on workers.

For the record, the Workforce Fairness Institute would also like to raise the importance of several additional pieces of legislation, including the Representation Fairness Restoration Act and Employee Rights Act.

Specifically, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act would overturn the aforementioned micro-union decision requiring labor organizers to win elections with a majority of the workforce voting in favor of forming a collective bargaining unit.  Union organizers should not be allowed to hand-pick and sort sub-groups of employees more favorable to representation.  These allowances do not benefit workers and certainly don’t benefit our nation’s job creators.

The legislation discussed in this correspondence are necessary to give power back to workers after eight years of unilateral actions by an activist and biased NLRB working on behalf of Big Labor.  The scales in America’s workplaces have been grossly tipped in favor of union bosses, and against America’s workers and business owners.

We strongly support the Employee Privacy Protection Act and Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, and urge each bill receive a prompt vote from the members of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Sincerely,

Heather Greenaway
Workforce Fairness Institute

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The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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ICYMI: Why Labor Needs Its Own ERA

WFI

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
June 12, 2017                                                                                                      202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Why Labor Needs Its Own ERA

 

Heather Greenaway
June 12, 2017
Washington Examiner

The labor landscape has changed a great deal from the days of our parents. Union participation has declined sharply, down to about 10 percent of the workforce.

Yet despite the widespread change in workforce dynamics, there has not been a comprehensive update to American labor laws since 1947, when the U.S. Senate and the House voted to override President Harry Truman’s veto of the Taft-Hartley Act.

There is no question that 1947 is different from 2017. Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers just months prior to Taft-Hartley’s passage. Chuck Yeager did not break the sound barrier for the first time until October of that year.

While wholesale changes to labor law have not taken place, what has changed is that government bureaucrats at the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board have chipped away at the rights of workers and business, handing over more power and influence to union bosses.

Thankfully, there is an opportunity to protect workers against the assault on their rights that has been so pronounced in particular over the last eight years under the previous administration.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has introduced the Employee Rights Act of 2017, which is aimed at giving a say to workers who, through intimidation and abuses of power, have lost their ability to have their voices heard and stand up for themselves.

It is incredibly difficult for union members to vote on whether they want to be represented by an incumbent union at a specific workplace. According to the NLRB, only 7 percent of unionized employees have voted for the union in their workplace. Instead, they were hired into an environment with a well-entrenched collective bargaining unit that has little to no accountability to its members.

Politicians, from the president down to the local dog catcher, all face periodic elections from their constituents. Union bosses, in contrast, do not have to face such scrutiny. The ERA would allow union workplaces to hold periodic secret ballot elections, to ensure voting free from harassment and intimidation, and to confirm members’ support for an incumbent union and any new one that is being organized.

Additionally, large numbers of union members’ voices have been muted during the election season due to the near-monolithic support from union bosses for specific candidates and initiatives. The ERA would simply require that labor bosses obtain approval from their members to spend the money they receive from dues on donations to candidates, parties or advocacy groups.

If Big Labor wants to represent the views of its members, this would allow them to receive input, without forcing anyone to provide monetary contributions to candidates and issues they do not support.

Finally, at the most basic level, union members should be allowed a secret ballot in all elections, particularly when they vote on whether a workplace should be organized. Employees should have the knowledge that they won’t face intimidation or reprisals as they determine the future of their own workplace.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case right now. Union bosses currently can forgo secret ballot elections by “persuading” workers to sign a card indicating that they want to be represented by a union. Then the same bosses pressure companies to accept these agreements in lieu of an actual vote by, for example, threatening a work slowdown.

Instead of a workplace democratically deciding to unionize, the unions use strong-arm tactics to make sure that the workers fall in line. The ERA addresses this by finally requiring a federally supervised, secret ballot election.

In the 21st century, it is clear that the workforce is changing and union representation is dwindling. There needs to be updated legislation for this changing dynamic.

The Employee Rights Act is a common-sense reform to labor laws that will take power away from union bosses and return it to the factory floor. The purpose of labor is to represent the worker, not the boss. And the ERA makes sure that that is the case.

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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Workforce Fairness Institute Applauds Pro-Worker Legislation Introduction

WFI

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams

June 7, 2017                                                                                                        202-677-7060

 

Workforce Fairness Institute Applauds Pro-Worker Legislation Introduction
Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act & Employee Privacy Protection Act Represent Steps Forward  

Washington, D.C. – Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) spokesperson Heather Greenaway released the following statement today in response to U.S. Representative Joe Wilson’s introduction of the Employee Privacy Act (H.R. 2775) and U.S. Representative Tim Walberg’s introduction of the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776):

“We applaud the action undertaken by Members of Congress to put the interests of workers first.  The Employee Privacy Act at its core protects worker information and empowers them to control its disclosure during workplace organizing efforts diminishing threats of intimidation and harassment.  The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act takes fundamental steps to protect decades of labor standards in union elections by among other things ensuring employees can make well informed decisions and employers are able to participate in the process.  With the recent introduction of the Employee Rights Act, Congress is demonstrating a real understanding that the actions of the last eight years undercutting the rights of workers must be addressed.  We hope these bills receive expedited and serious consideration.”

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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ICYMI: Stop Trying To Make Micro-Unions A Thing, Big Labor

WFI

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
May 30, 2017                                                                                                      202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Stop Trying To Make Micro-Unions A Thing, Big Labor

 

Heather Greenaway
May 29, 2017
Washington Examiner

It’s no secret that Big Labor is constantly looking for ways to boost their membership and wield their influence, and over the last eight years, the Obama administration gave them various tools to do so. President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, in particular, went out of its way to make it easier for labor to organize workers, issuing several decisions that upended decades of bipartisan labor law and fundamentally altered the state of the workplace.

In fact, a report released late last year by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace determined that the Obama NLRB was by far the most partisan board in history, and that taken cumulatively, it upended 4,559 years of legal precedent.

The authors note that, “In each case where the Obama Board changed the law, the resulting new law became more favorable to labor interests than it did under previous Board rulings – frequently at the expense of promoting stable bargaining and economic growth and without regard for balancing the interests of business, labor and employees under the [National Labor Relations] Act.”

Fortunately, there are several efforts currently underway to roll back many of the misguided decisions of the last few years and rein in Big Labor’s control of the Board – including the Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S.1217), recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and companion legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 2629) by Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.

These bills would overturn the Board’s ruling in Specialty Healthcare, an egregious decision handed down in 2011 that allowed for the formation of so-called micro-unions.

Specialty Healthcare created an entirely new standard for determining the make-up of bargaining units for a union certification election and the implications were sweeping. The authorization of micro-unions essentially allows labor bosses to gerrymander a workplace, encouraging organizers to group employees together in ad hoc bargaining units in order to increase the chance of a successful election outcome. By switching to a vague “community of interest” standard to determine the appropriateness of bargaining units, the decision in Specialty Healthcare amounted to “a fundamental rewrite of the NLRB’s traditional bargaining unit standard,” according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in their recent report on the harm of micro-unions in the workplace.

This decision opened the door to the spread of micro-unions across industries.

For example, we’ve seen labor bosses employ these tactics in department stores like Macy’s after unsuccessful “wall-to-wall” unionization attempts. In 2011, the United Food & Commercial Workers petitioned to represent all of Macy’s sales associates at a department store in Massachusetts, but in the election, employees voted against representation. Then, the following year, post-Specialty Healthcare, UFCW went back and filed a second representation petition to represent only the 41 cosmetic and fragrance sales reps of the store – and the election was a success, despite the fact that for decades prior, NLRB’s precedent for the retail industry required a storewide bargaining unit.

Micro-unions are disruptive to workplaces and make it harder for employers to run their businesses, while allowing labor organizers to place immense pressure on workers. Union organizers used to be required to win elections with a majority of the workforce voting in favor of forming a collective bargaining unit. After Specialty Healthcare, however, we’ve allowed them to hand-pick and sort sub-groups of employees more favorable to representation – increasing their success rates and adding members to their rolls. This doesn’t benefit workers, and it certainly doesn’t benefit our nation’s job creators.

While micro-unions make sense as a tool for Big Labor to increase membership and expand influence, that is simply not the case for the workers and business-owners. Congress must focus on securing wins for the workers and overturning bad labor policy is the perfect place to start.

 Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute.

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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Workforce Fairness Institute Applauds Employee Rights Act Introduction

WFI

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
May 26, 2017                                                                                                      202-677-7060

 

Workforce Fairness Institute Applauds Employee Rights Act Introduction

Washington, D.C. – Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) spokesperson Heather Greenaway released the following statement today in response to U.S. Representative Phil Roe’s introduction of the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2723) in the U.S. House:

“This legislation represents the interests of workers and protects them in workplaces across America by respecting their right to choose or reject labor representation.  By guaranteeing a secret ballot election, the support of a majority of workplace employees, protecting workers’ private information and voting to decertify collective bargaining units just as votes are required to organize them, among other provisions, this legislation is a top priority for America’s employees and employers, as well as the Workforce Fairness Institute.  We strongly encourage members of the U.S. House to seriously consider supporting the Employee Rights Act and working to expeditiously advance the legislation.”

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

 

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