From the desk of Stephen Cabot The presidency of Barack Obama has produced a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that is decidedly pro-union and anti-business. The president’s appointees to the Board have made their ideological positions well known, and those positions are the reverse of what existed under President George W. Bush. The most vociferous advocate for organized labor on the Board is Craig Becker, but there are others who are equally committed to giving every possible benefit to unions. And together, they are a powerful majority who share the same goals: to increase union membership. Corporate America can now expect a powerful barrage of NLRB actions that will enhance the ability of unions to win battles and enlist workers in the army of organized labor. The NLRB will make it increasingly difficult for companies to educate workers against the potential injuries associated with unionization; companies will find it increasingly difficult to decertify unions; they will have to accept electronic voting instead of secret paper ballot voting. And more: unions have now been granted the right to hoist and display anti-business banners that can intimidate management not only at organizing targets, but also at companies that do business with the those being targeted by organizers. And it’s not just banners: businesses can be harassed by noisy demonstrators carrying loudspeakers, blowing horns and whistles, and shouting at passersby. And most insidiously, the Board is soon expected to permit workers to use their employers’ computers to send pro-union e-mails to their colleagues. In effect, companies will no longer have the right to restrict employee use of company-owned computers. It will be a computer virus that no spyware will be able to prevent.
The NLRB is obviously creating a Brave New World for union organizers. And Corporate America will be the unfortunate victim. It is, therefore, essential that management immediately put in place proactive labor relations survival strategies. Not to do so will prove self-destructive. One should not wait for the enemy to attack; one should have defense mechanisms in place to prevent those attacks from ever succeeding. Aggressive organizers are now drawing up plans to rouse one’s workers to bite the hands that feed them!