GOP labor bills limit 'micro-unions,' require secret ballots

ADVERTISEMENT
A bill being introduced in both chambers by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) would combat "micro-unions," a standard they say was created by a 2011 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that allows some workplace employees to unionize without the rest of the business.

That would allow unions to encroach on a business in a piecemeal fashion and "makes it nearly impossible for employers to manage such fragmentation of their workforce," Isakson said in a statement.

Their bill, the Representation Fairness Restoration Act, would nix that NLRB decision and require unions be organized around workers with similar wages, skills and functions.

The House previously passed similar legislation in 2011, but it failed to gather momentum in the Senate.

Another bill from Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), called the Secret Ballot Protection Act, would require a secret ballot vote before the creation or dissolution of a union.

Currently, employees can decide whether or not to create a union by voting in a secret ballot or by signing a card and signaling their intent.

Republicans and business groups have derided the rise of those cards, known as the "card check" process, claiming they weaken the secret ballot and allow workers to be pressured.

"This has nothing to do with whether you are pro- or anti-union; this is simply about giving workers the protection and freedom they deserve to make the best decision for themselves and their families without fear of retribution," Roe said in a statement.

Roe is the chairman of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which will discuss the bills in a June 26 hearing.