A NEW THREAT TO CORPORATE AMERICA

From the Desk of Steve Cabot: Having failed to get congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), organized labor is now benefitting from proposed new rules issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The new rules will ease the way for organized labor to win union elections by dramatically truncating the period of time from petition to election. It currently takes an average of 57 days from petition to election; under the new rules that period would be reduced to from 10 to 21 days. Of course, union organizers often spend months convincing employees to vote for unionization, prior to the filing of a petition. Now, the newly imposed brief interregnum will significantly curtail a company’s ability to educate employees about the disadvantages of unionization.

As if that were not sufficiently injurious to Corporate America, the NLRB rules would also permit the electronic filing of election petitions, defer litigation about voter eligibility until after an election, require employers to provide a union with the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all employees prior to an election, consolidate all litigious matters into a single post-election appeals action in order to eliminate individual actions that could delay an election.

One can only speculate what additional pro-union rules and regulations the NLRB may issue in the coming months. Certainly issues of wages and benefits will be an enticing subject for the NLRB ideologues to consider.

Corporate America has, thus far, been too complacent, believing that because the number of union members has decreased over the years that unions have been rendered ineffectual. In fact, unions are vigorously preparing for an aggressive assault on Corporate America, and its chief advocate and front-line ally is the NLRB, which is proposing a number of radical threats to Corporate America that should not be ignored.

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PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS & THE 2012 ELECTIONS

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: While the news media has been focusing on public sector unions in Wisconsin and Ohio, the Obama administration has quietly encouraged the unionization of 45,000 airport screeners. The Transportation Security Administrator, John Pistole, a pro-union advocate, has been lauded by federal unions, who have wanted to unionize airport screeners for many years. This is an extraordinary development in light of the anti-public-union sentiment that has swept the county in the last few months. As the Obama Administration and Democratic legislators gear up for the 2012 elections, they will surely enlist the vast armies of unionized workers to deliver their election victories. As we get closer and closer to 2012, we can expect to see ever-increasing pro-union directives emanating from the White House.

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THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD THREATENS TO ELIMINATE A BASIC AMERICAN RIGHT

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has threatened to sue four states for ensuring that workers can enjoy a basic democratic right to cast secret ballots when it come s to the possibility of unionization. The four states, South Dakota, South Carolina, Arizona, and Utah, have mandated the use of secret ballots in union elections.

The NLRB has made the Alice-in-Wonderland assertion that secret ballots violate federal law. Though Congress has refused to pass the Employee Free Choice Act that would have permitted unions to coerce workers into signing “card checks” to ensure union representation, the NLRB has repeatedly looked for opportunities to present unions with opportunities to impose the use of “card checks” on workers, who may not want to join a union.

Indeed, the most effective tactic that workers have against forced unionization is the secret ballot. No union organizer gets to coerce, embarrass, or intimidate a worker to join a union when the workers’ preferences are made oblique by casting secret, anonymous ballots.

We back the efforts of Minnesota Republican Representative John Kline to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with the passage of the Secret Ballot Protection Act. While the Republican dominated House of Representatives very well may pass the amendment, the Democrats in the Senate will not pass it. Corporate America, therefore, will have to wait until the election of 2012 to be delivered from the high-handed, pro-union actions of the NLRB. Meanwhile, it is essential that corporations put in place survival strategies that prevent labor relations problems before they arise.

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