THE NLRB'S PRO-UNION STRATEGY

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!

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WILL THE PRESIDENT RESURRECT THE EFCA?

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: President Barack Obama, in an effort to shore up support from organized labor, said that he will push for stronger organizing rights for unions. One can assume, based upon such a promise as well as his appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, that while the Employee Free Choice might be lifeless, it will soon rise from the dead. (The EFCA is beginning to resemble a vampire that cannot be slain). The president had made his revivifying remarks on August 4 to the executive council of the AFL-CIO. While the president received numerous standing ovations, he was warned that unions will only support those politicians who back organized labor’s multi-faceted agenda, which includes the passage of the EFCA. And the president stressed that his administration will, indeed, work to seek passage of the ACT, which – of course – he will proudly sign into law. (At that point, one can imagine another round of thunderous applause). However, knowing that he cannot get congress to pass many of labor’s pro-union initiatives, the president not only stated that "We are going to keep on fighting to pass the Employee Free Choice Act," but that he would use his executive powers to implement changes, ones that do not require legislative approval (e.g. the appointment of Craig Becker). It is apparent that Mr. Obama is siding with big labor and against Corporate America. That is not only bad for American businesses, but it is also bad for the entire economy, which affects all Americans, including union members.

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