Senator Harkin stands with labor bosses, not workers

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The reality is that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) represents everything that is wrong in Washington, D.C. and those supporting the regulatory agency are just as responsible for their job-killing agenda as the board members themselves.  The NLRB is supposedly an "independent" agency seeking to address matters between unions and employers in the private sector in an evenhanded manner, yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Even former NLRB members have protested the current board's aggressive stance against employers in an effort to forcibly unionize employees.

Most recently, the NLRB has undertaken an effort to close the window for union elections from a median time of 38 days to as little as 10.  The proposed rule known as "quickie" or "ambush" elections is anti-worker and anti-employer.  It would deprive a small business owner of a meaningful opportunity to express his/her views on unionization.  It would also deny employees the right to hear all sides and make an informed choice.

Secondly, President Obama's labor board has radically altered the definition of a bargaining unit by supporting "micro-units" or a proliferation of smaller units that is inconsistent with worker rights and legitimate management interests.  The NLRB's decision in Specialty Healthcare threatens an increase in work stoppages, limits the ability of employers to transfer employees from one job to another and dramatically increases labor relations costs.

Neither "quickie" elections or "micro-units" will create a single job; instead, they will force businesses to withhold investments, lay off workers or worse yet, close altogether under the costs and strains associated with government-mandated unionization.

And while none of these concerns may mean much to Senator Harkin, perhaps he would care to share his feelings on the acting general counsel at the NLRB recently writing, "We screwed up the us economy and now we can tackle europe."  The comment was written in the context of a complaint filed by Obama's labor board against the Boeing Company for creating more than 1,000 jobs in the right-to-work state of South Carolina.  Recent polling shows a vast majority opposes the NLRB's action in the Boeing matter, and that includes Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

Where the executive branch has grossly overreached, Congress has an obligation to act, and this is just such an occasion.  In response, Congressman John Kline from Minnesota has introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which addresses some of these egregious actions on part of the NLRB by protecting critical freedoms that workers and small business owners have earned, including both free speech and choice when deciding whether to form a collective bargaining unit.

We agree with Senator Harkin that we must focus on "rebuilding the middle class and moving America forward" and we can best accomplish that by ensuring an agency interested in screwing up the U.S. economy can no longer do so.

Fred Wszolek is a spokesperson with the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).