Ending Ambush Elections

Hector Barreto
December 8, 2015
Washington Times

Both the House and Senate are moving appropriations bills with attached riders that would end the rash, union-promoting ambush election ruling that has caused confusion for both employers and employees in their place of work. These are critical efforts that would reinstate balance and fairness in the workplace, and would prevent unions from ambushing employers with quickie union elections in sometimes as few as nine days.

The Obama administration is no stranger to overburdening, job-killing regulations but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this year seems to be trying to cram every rule they can down the throats of American workers in order to help boost unionization. With its ambush rule, the joint employer rule and the micro-unions allowance, the National Labor Relations Board is out of control, and has proven to be one of the most ideological NLRBs in America’s history. The board was created to protect workers, not boost the membership rolls of unions on the taxpayer’s dime. But President Obama has made fighting for unions such a priority during his presidency that he vetoed a previous congressional attempt to overturn this egregious ruling and rein in the board. He seems content to appoint union bosses and allow them to set their own rules and run the show.

Union membership has for years been on the decline — so the NLRB has taken recruitment efforts upon themselves. Why are ambush elections so damaging? History shows that the shorter the amount of time in which an election takes place, the greater the likelihood that a company will unionize. Unions, many of which have been coordinating for weeks or months prior to officially launching their petition, take advantage of this shortened time frame and confusion to make false promises and coerce workers into the collective. Indeed, as soon as the ambush election rule went into effect, the number of workplace petitions to unionize skyrocketed.

The National Labor Relations Board’s ambush election rule was a solution is search of a problem; a rule to speed up the process was unnecessary. In 2014, more than 95 percent of elections took place within 56 days, and employers have historically had an average of 38 days before an election to prepare. This allowed both employers and employees ample time to educate themselves on the process and choice.

Furthermore, ambush elections erode the employer-employee relationship, limiting what employers can say to the people they work with every day. Before this rule took effect, employers had time to speak with their employees about what unionization would look like for their individual workplace. Ideas were able to be exchanged. Now, however, their free speech is chilled and due process thwarted. Employers only have eight calendar days — not business days — to hire outside counsel and prepare for a hearing, and must submit their Statement of Position within that time frame, due the day before the hearing. They are barred from speaking to employees about the election outside of their statement and can’t answer further questions. If the goal of unions is to sow discord in the workplace, then ambush elections allow them to do just that.

They also exploit worker privacy — providing union bosses with the information and tools to harass workers at their homes or places of work. Prior to this rule, employers were only required to provide names and home addresses of their workers. Now, however, they must turn over all forms of contact information they have, including personal email addresses and phone and cell numbers. By providing nearly unfettered access, it’s abundantly clear that these new rules are stacked in favor of the unions — and the National Labor Relations Board knows it.

Congress is once again flexing the power of the purse with another attempt to repeal this egregious regulation. We need to give workers the time and tools to make informed choices when deciding whether to join a union. This is a process that simply cannot be rushed. Ambush elections only benefit union leaders, not workers. Thus, we must bring an appropriations bill to President Obama’s desk that repeals this rule.

Hector Barreto is the former head of the Small Business Administration.

 

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‘Holiday Union Hypocrisy Top 5’

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             CONTACT: Ryan Williams November 24, 2015                                                                        202-677-7060

‘Holiday Union Hypocrisy Top 5’

Tis the season for holiday shopping and of course protestors advocating for an arbitrary $15 minimum wage.  The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) wanted to take a moment ahead of this Black Friday to highlight the top five examples of hypocrisy from unions:

#5: AFL-CIO does not pay $15 an hour to own employees:
https://shiftwa.org/union-displays-stunning-hypocrisy-on-15-minimum-wage/

“The Washington Times recently reported on the AFL-CIO’s annual summer meeting where union bosses boasted of their success in championing the $15 minimum wage. Here’s the hypocrisy: An usher working at the event informed the reporter that she does not earn a $15 minimum wage.”

 #4: UFCW will not allow their organizers to unionize:
http://hotair.com/archives/2015/09/24/hypocrisy-thy-name-is-union/

“The UFCW “is all for workers’ rights yet it denied its own staff union contracts and didn’t pay us overtime and eventually fired us for reaching out to a union.”

#3: Unions want exemption from the LA $15 minimum wage:
http://www.economics21.org/commentary/unions-exempt-themselves-minimum-wage-hikes-05-28-2015

“The union-funded Raise the Wage campaigned so vociferously in favor of a $15.25 minimum wage, unions are seeking exemptions from the higher wages for their members. The exemption, or escape clause, would allow them greater strength in organizing workplaces.  Unions can tell fast food chains, hotels, and hospitals that if they agree to union representation, their wage bill will be substantially lower.  That will persuade employers to allow the unions to move in.”

#2: WA unions are exempt from $15 minimum wage at SeaTac:
http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/union-hypocrisy-exploits-union-workers/

“After well-funded campaigns by labor unions, SeaTac and other jurisdictions have an exemption for unionized employers that allow them to pay a lower wage and not pay for sick leave. Thanks to the union escape clause supported by labor, unionized employers can legally pay their workers less than what their nonunion counterparts earn.”

#1: UFCW’s OURWalmart spokeswoman worked against unionization at previous job:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/28/media-matters-fights-against-bid-unionize-staff/

“The liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America is actively fighting against a bid to unionize its workers…The communications director for Media Matters, Jess Levin, said Saturday that the nonprofit was not “actively opposing” unionization, but she declined to elaborate on how it was responding to Local 500’s bid.  Media Matters had previously rejected Local 500’s bid for a Card Check election, which prompted the union to petition the National Labor Relations Board.”

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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Different year, same story as Big Labor promotes Black Friday protests

Fox News Latino
By Hector Barreto

With protests planned at the reopening of the Pico Rivera Walmart in California and at stores around the country on Black Friday, it’s important to once again examine the origins of these supposedly grassroots demonstrations.

On November 19, the front group OUR Walmart led a “Fairness for Pico Workers” rally at the site of the new Pico Rivera Walmart. Separately, an OUR Walmart splinter group led by a former United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) top official has launched a national 15-day protest through Black Friday in order to promote raising the minimum wage to $15.

These tactics, while desperate and futile, are nothing new.

The UFCW and the orchestrators behind the “Fight for $15” campaign – the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – have tried unsuccessfully for years to unionize Walmart workers. The two unions are no strangers to working together on coordinated campaigns. In fact, both OUR Walmart and the entire premise of the “Fight for $15” campaign are financially sustained by Big Labor — and recent reports show that the SEIU funded the “Fight for $15” campaign to the tune of $80 million over the past three years.

These demonstrations aren’t about benefiting Walmart workers, but are instead about padding rapidly declining union membership rolls. In fact, they rarely even involve Walmart workers themselves.

OUR Walmart has been known to pay protestors to picket and organizers have admitted that most of the demonstrators are not actually employed by Walmart. Along with harassing workers and impeding operations, the group fabricates success, claiming that, thanks to their work, “X” number of Walmart workers walked off the job in protest. Not once has this been true. These things do not happen. Other than protesting for publicity, OUR Walmart has made zero inroads in winning over Walmart workers because OUR Walmart simply doesn’t represent their views. Not to be deterred, unfortunately that won’t stop them from their Black Friday shenanigans again this year.

Top labor officials have admitted that the end goal of OUR Walmart is to pave the way for unionization of Walmart workers, while the group continues to skirt the rules as to whether OUR Walmart’s activities qualify as official organizing drives. Indeed, labor scholars have praised these covert attempts orchestrated by front groups as a new model for national organizing, calling it “minority unionism.”

This year, OUR Walmart is desperate to make a big splash. After months of speculation about the splinter in and dissolution of the group, it’s currently unclear who is actually in charge. Originally a subsidiary of the UFCW, earlier this year new UFCW leadership fired OUR Walmart’s longtime leaders, Dan Schlademan and Andrea Dehlendorf, and cut the group’s funding in half. That’s when the UFCW’s parent organization, the AFL-CIO stepped in. But that didn’t stop the two former leaders, Schlademan and Dehlendorf, from running their own independent campaign, now called “Help Change Walmart,” in what Politico likens to the Great Western Schism. As with the current state of “disorganized” labor, it’s incredibly confusing just who runs the show – but it’s certainly not the good employees of Walmart.

As unions continue to struggle to turn protestors into card-carrying union members, but sink millions into these guerrilla campaigns, where does that leave their actual membership? Unionized employees fork over thousands in dues to bankroll “Fight for $15” or “Our Walmart” campaigns but aren’t reaping the benefits. Indeed, if anything, members are beginning to realize that organized labor’s outdated business model no longer works, leading to the lowest private sector union participation rate in decades. We can only assume that as membership continues to decline, Big Labor’s tactics will continue to get more extreme and desperate. What lows will they sink to next?

Hector Barreto is the former head of the Small Business Administration.

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Big Labor’s Assault on Employee Freedom

Hector Barreto

October 5, 2015

Washington Times

In yet another example of the Obama administration promoting Big Labor, the White House and Department of Labor will hold a “Summit on Worker Voice” on Wednesday to encourage unionization and promote organized labor. According to WhiteHouse.gov, the event will bring together “workers, employers, unions, organizers and other advocates and experts — to explore ways to ensure that middle class Americans are sharing in the benefits of the broad-based economic growth that they are hoping to create.” While rather innocuous sounding, the event is nothing more than a government-sanctioned union organizing drive.

With union membership at its lowest rate in 100 years, the White House mistakenly sees the national decline as a problem for employees, when in fact, workers are opting out because in today’s day and age, they see very little benefit to organized labor. Today’s workers would rather keep more of their hard-earned paychecks — not pay thousands in dues to an organization that doesn’t fight for them or represent their political interests. On Tuesday, the day before the White House summit, the Heritage Foundation plans to hold their own counterevent, “A Summit on Workers’ Empowerment,” to draw attention to excessive government regulations that hold employees back and the issues Big Labor has caused.

Let’s take a look at some of those issues. Under the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a supposedly “independent” agency that serves as the official arbiter of labor disputes, has run rampant, hurriedly enacting rule after rule — arguably unconstitutional ones at that — to boost union membership recruitment and retention. From the rash “ambush election” ruling to the crippling “joint employer” rule, this administration’s NLRB rulings have changed the face of labor and will have lasting, anti-competitive impacts on America’s workforce and business community for years to come.

The ambush election rule, enacted in April, shortened election times from an average of 38 days after a petition to unionize is filed to as few as nine — leaving employers, including many small business, with only a little over a work week to hire outside counsel, educate their employees on the implications of unionization for their individual workplace and prepare for the election. As predicted, since the ambush election rule took effect, the number of election petitions filed has dramatically risen in the first few months. Since it’s now so easy and less resource-intensive for unions to file petitions, they are much more likely to do so, even when chances of success are slim.

In this summer’s Browning-Ferris case, the NLRB upended decades of settled labor law and ruled that companies can be held responsible for labor violations committed by franchisees, redefining the definition of “employer.” The joint employer decision “will single-handedly change the American franchise infrastructure that creates thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout various industries,” according to former NLRB chairman Peter Schaumber. Business groups from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the National Franchisee Association warn that this destructive decision affects the more than 800,000 franchises in the United States that generate more than $2 trillion in economic activity and employ 18 million American workers.

Despite these coercive tactics, employment is on the rise and union membership remains in decline, thanks in part to states around the country that work to protect employee freedom and pass right-to-work laws. The effects of these laws show that workers, when given the choice, would rather not be compelled to organize — even in previously heavily organized industries, like the automotive industry. Take Michigan, for example. In 2014, when the main provisions of the state’s 2012 right-to-work law started kicking in, employment increased but the state’s union membership fell sharply in just one year. And as previous contracts begin to expire and workers break free, even more of a drop-off is expected. Workers need choices, not coercion.

The Obama administration’s assault on business and employee freedom must not continue — or our workers and economy will be the ones to suffer. The next administration should work diligently to decrease organized labor’s grip on American workers.

Hector Barreto is the former head of the Small Business Administration.

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Summit on Workers’ Empowerment

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        CONTACT: Ryan Williams
October 5, 2015                                                                         202-677-7060

Summit on Workers’ Empowerment
Educating The Public About Workers’ Rights And The Barriers Unions Create

Washington, D.C. (October 5, 2015) – On October 6, The Heritage Foundation plans to hold a “Summit on Workers’ Empowerment,” to draw attention to excessive government regulations that hold workers back and the issues Big Labor and the enabling administration are causing to the American workforce. The event will counter the “Summit on Worker Voice” held by the White House and Department of Labor the following day, which is designed to promote organized labor and advance the misguided notion that the decline of union membership represents a major problem for employees.

The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) and the Heritage Foundation know that 21st century workers are choosing not to join unions because they see little benefit from union dues.  In reality, the government itself often creates more significant barriers for workers just trying to get ahead.

“Most workers don’t find unions relevant to their working lives,” said Heritage labor economist James Sherk. “A much greater problem is the barriers the government itself erects.”

To exemplify why workers are choosing not to join unions, the “Summit on Workers’ Empowerment” will feature workers from different industries throughout the country discussing problems they have encountered.  Some of the workers are:

Karen Cox – A lift-truck operator from Illinois whose workplace was unionized without a secret ballot election. Watch Ms. Cox’s Story

Isis Brantley – A hair braider from Dallas arrested because she braided hair without a cosmetology license. Watch Ms. Brantley’s Story 

These Americans along with others, will discuss their true experiences with collective bargaining and occupational licensing and also explain how changes to public policy could improve their lives.

If you are interested in attending the event on October 6, please click here to register.

To schedule an interview with one of the panelists or WFI, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060. 

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.

 

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Union Hypocrisy At Its Finest

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  CONTACT: Ryan Williams
September 24, 2015                                                                             202-677-7060

Union Hypocrisy At Its Finest

The UFCW Employed Non-Union Workers As Part Of Its OUR Walmart Campaign

Washington, D.C. (September 24, 2015) – It is no secret that big labor has an agenda and that agenda is to unionize—but only to their benefit, not to the benefit of the American worker.  This behavior was exemplified when it was reported by the New York Post that the United Food & Commercial Workers International (UFCW) employed non-union members as part of it’s OUR Walmart campaign, then later fired the employees when they made attempts to organize.

One of the fired workers is quoted in the New York Post as saying, “The UFCW is all for workers’ rights yet it denied its own staff union contracts and didn’t pay us overtime and eventually fired us for reaching out to a union.”

“This is just another shameful example of big labor’s hypocrisy and proves that they have no interest in helping workers, but filling their union coffers with hard earned worker wages,” said Heather Greenaway a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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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The Extremist Proposals of Governor Scott Walker

Peter Schaumber

September 23, 2015

National Review

The recent proposals by Governor Scott Walker (R., Wis.) to eliminate the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), end the collective-bargaining rights of federal workers, and adopt a national right-to-work law were immediately demagogued by the Democratic National Committee as “far-reaching, extremist and anti–middle class.” Although Walker is no longer a presidential candidate, he is onto some problems that can no longer be hidden, and the DNC knows it.

As the nation’s vehicle for the development of national labor policy under the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB is broken. Not long ago, a candidate to fill a seat on the NLRB was interviewed by the staff of a leading Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. When the candidate made the mistake of beginning a sentence with, “If a union or an employer violates the law,” he was immediately told, “Unions don’t violate the law.” For all intents and purposes, the interview was over.

This display of raw partisanship by those vetting candidates for a position on the board provides a glimpse into the Democrats’ selection process. Together with President Obama’s recess appointment of labor radical Craig Becker, who was filibustered by the Senate for views considered outside the mainstream, it has resulted in an NLRB that is the most militantly partisan, pro-union board in U.S. history.

That is not what Congress intended when it passed the act in 1935. It contemplated a board of “impartial government employees,” and early tradition was faithful to that spirit: Members were drawn from government, academia, and other neutral backgrounds. This gradually gave way, however, to the appointment of management-side and union-side labor lawyers, which is the norm today.

The selection of labor lawyers to fill positions that require neutrality doesn’t work when one side is directed to pursue a partisan agenda (and when the nature of their work after they leave the board exposes them to retribution if they don’t).

Eliminating the NLRB as we know it is an imperative for the next Republican administration. Whether lifetime federal judges take the board’s place or the board’s composition is significantly changed, the nation can no longer tolerate a government agency that masquerades as impartial but is controlled by one of the parties whose members it is charged with regulating.

Governor Walker and President Franklin D. Roosevelt are on the same page when it comes to the unionization of federal employees. For Roosevelt, the consequences would have been “unthinkable,” and there are a variety of reasons.

First, taxpayers pay tens of millions of dollars every year for third-party unions to bargain over workplace details for handsomely paid and often coddled federal-government employees.

Unlike workers in the private sector, federal employees have civil-service protections. The important terms and conditions of employment, including salary and benefits, are set by law for all but one or two groups of federal workers. Bargaining is about workplace details, such as dress codes and grievance and performance-appraisal systems. These are matters that could be addressed by the federal government without a union. And the cost of all this, which includes countless hours spent on frivolous grievances and complaints, is unconscionably high.

Second, there is the cost of the hundreds of government employees who go to work every day but do no government work; they do “union work.” A former president of the NLRB’s union representing roughly 125 board-side staff attorneys did no government work. She used what is known as “official time” — the allowance given to unions to engage in union business. In 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available, taxpayers paid $157 million for 3.4 million hours of official time.

Third, we pay an even higher price for the politicization of the federal workplace that results from third-party unionization. In 2014, nearly 1.1 million federal workers were represented by unions, and 8.6 of every 10 federal workers were union members. These are the foot soldiers for the Democratic party at election time. Is it possible to hear a constant diatribe of anti-Republican rhetoric on weekends from the union and then go to work on Monday and be impartial? The IRS’s infamous Lois Lerner — who targeted conservatives and took the Fifth Amendment to shield herself from possible criminal liability — was such a career government employee.

Walker also proposes a national right-to-work law that states could opt out of. These laws protect a worker’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association. Without a right-to-work law, workers must pay union dues or get fired, but why should a worker have to pay dues to an organization that engages in activities that he and a sizeable percentage of workers philosophically and morally disagree with — support for Democratic candidates, far-left groups like Occupy Wall Street, or abortion rights?

Unions complain that right-to-work laws allow non–union members to take advantage of collective-bargaining agreements that the union members’ dues pay for. But it is the unions that want to be the exclusive bargaining agents for all employees, whether union members or not. This gives the union the ability to agree to terms of employment that benefit some employees but not others — such as seniority rights — but are binding on all, or that bind all employees to less-favorable terms of employment as a quid pro quo for the employer’s doing the union a favor, such as agreeing to forgo secret-ballot elections at one of its other facilities.

The DNC’s demagoguery in reaction to Governor Walker’s proposals was an attempt to undermine our chances of coming together to reach real solutions to real problems. The bad news is that the DNC is so beholden to labor-union cash that it does not know any other way. The good news is that there’s an election next year.

— Peter Schaumber is a former chairman of the NLRB under President George W. Bush.

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Scott Walker Takes On The Rogue NLRB

WFI

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  CONTACT: Ryan Williams
September 14, 2015                                                                             202-677-7060

 

Scott Walker Takes On The Rogue NLRB

Washington, D.C. (September 14, 2015) – There is one candidate mentioning the detrimental effects that arbitrary policies like the ambush election rule and micro unions will have on the American workforce—Governor Scott Walker.

“The NLRB has become a rogue agency that is abrogating important workers’ rights and issuing economically damaging decisions in its quest for more union members.  In the past year alone, new NLRB policies such as the ambush election rule and joint employer decision are dramatically and negatively changing the way American businesses operate.  Through the new ambush election rule, unions will find it much easier to organize workplaces through shortened election timelines but by gaining access to personal employee contact information and by preventing workers from getting the information they need to cast an informed vote.  In addition, the NLRB’s joint employer decision will singlehandedly change the American franchise infrastructure that creates thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout various industries,” said Peter Schaumber, former NLRB chairman.

The time is now to bring these issues to the forefront of the 2016 presidential election and WFI applauds Governor Scott Walker for doing so.  The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) urges other candidates to address this rogue NLRB.

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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