Originally posted on Real Clear Policy: Micro-Unions Don’t Instill Confidence Or Certainty
July 6, 2012
Real Clear Policy
In recent days, news reports have reminded Americans just how fragile the economy really is. For instance, The New York Times reported on Monday that manufacturing activity in the United States contracted in June for the first time since 2009.
And, as Reuters reported on Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund has recommended that the United States “remove the uncertainty over the path of fiscal policy,” and avert the impending ‘fiscal cliff’ of $4 trillion in tax hikes and spending cuts that will automatically take place at the end of the year if nothing is done.
Words in these news reports such as decline, contraction, slowdown and uncertainty do not give job creators great confidence. One would think the Obama administration would be working overtime to minimize factors such as these and inject pro-growth, pro-jobs policies that send the signal to employers that hiring is safe and smart in the current economic and regulatory environment.
Unfortunately though, the White House has decided against standing with workers and small businesses and instead, has sided with labor bosses desperately seeking “payback.” After having invested half a billion dollars in President Obama’s election in 2008, union bosses have demanded gifts in return for their political contributions. And the problem has only grown worse with the November election upon us and labor bosses slated to contribute nearly 500 million dollars more, for a grand total of one billion.
The truth is Big Labor is a special interest with unprecedented influence in this administration. Union bosses have publicly and arrogantly bragged about their access to this president and his advisors. And where does that leave employees and employers? They are saddled with job-killing policies promulgated by unelected government bureaucrats in federal agencies that result in increased costs and burdens.
A case study is exhibited in the Specialty Healthcare or micro-union decision reached by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Obama’s labor board has endorsed a radical policy which upends nearly half a century of labor law and sanctions the formation of small or mini collective bargaining units, which can be made up of as few as two or three people.
The decision was the brainchild of former board member Craig Becker, who was previously counsel to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), having worked on Obama’s transition as well. Due to his out-of-the-mainstream views, Becker was opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate, yet garnered a recess appointment to the NLRB. After enacting this micro-union policy, Becker left the board and was rewarded with the newly-created post of co-general counsel at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
Employers are deeply concerned about the micro-union decision believing it is nothing more than a giveaway to union bosses and their organizers granting them a foothold within businesses where the majority of employees oppose the formation of a collective bargaining unit. And, in reality, that’s exactly what has transpired.
A number of weeks ago, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union petitioned to represent Bergdorf Goodman sales associates, and the NLRB’s regional director authorized the formation of the micro-union in the New York store. Micro-unions force employers to negotiate with a proliferation of different bargaining units under one roof, which increases labor and management costs. They create division, discord and disharmony in the workplace and entangle business owners in an expensive mess of union red tape and competing demands.
Fortunately, there is a remedy, one that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. The Representation Fairness Restoration Act (S.1843) restores the standard which has been the norm when establishing which employees should form a collective bargaining unit. If recent news reports mean anything to President Obama, he would seek out job-killing policies such as micro-unions and denounce them, while supporting common sense reforms that send the message America is open for business.