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Prepare yourself for a shitstorm of right-wing outrage, and prepare yourself to say "really? over that?"

This time, the totally sincere, not-at-all programmed outrage will be over a proposed rule change from the National Labor Relations Board. In the dry language of the NLRB, the new rules would:

  •  Allow for electronic filing of election petitions and other documents. 
  • Ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process.
  • Standardize timeframes for parties to resolve or litigate issues before and after elections. 
  • Require parties to identify issues and describe evidence soon after an election petition is filed to facilitate resolution and eliminate unnecessary litigation.
  • Defer litigation of most voter eligibility issues until after the election. 
  • Require employers to provide a final voter list in electronic form soon after the scheduling of an election, including voters’ telephone numbers and email addresses when available.
  • Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process and thereby eliminate delay in holding elections currently attributable to the possibility of pre-election appeals.
  • Make Board review of post-election decisions discretionary rather than mandatory.

These changes represent not new law, but new guidelines for following current law—and incredibly modest ones at that. Basically, they would remove a couple of ways anti-union employers currently drag out the election process, giving themselves more time to intimidate workers into voting against union representation. They do that through frivolous litigation, which the changes would minimize and streamline. For instance, according to an NLRB fact sheet explaining the changes, currently:

In contrast to federal court rules, the Board’s current procedures have no mechanism for quickly identifying what issues are in dispute to avoid wasteful litigation and encourage agreements.  

Under the new rule:

The parties would be required to state their positions no later than the start of the hearing, before any other evidence is accepted.  The proposed amendments would ensure that hearings are limited to resolving genuine disputes.

The right, of course, likes to make hay wailing about frivolous litigation. But that's when it's litigation by regular, non-rich people against corporations. There's a good bet that we're about to find out that the right of corporations to file frivolous litigation to drag out the union election process is a God-given right and that if employers can no longer delay elections by 25-30 days to allow them to request Board review of Regional Director rulings they almost never actually request review of, workers will somehow be forcibly assimilated into the union borg.

There is a 60-day public comment period, followed by a 14-day period for reply comments. Since we're we're talking about the people who called for defunding the NLRB for filing a totally routine complaint against Boeing, the floor on the outrage meter is already set incredibly high. It would be almost entertaining if it wasn't so destructive.

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Comment Preferences

    •  So who gets to define "frivolous law suits"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      My Name Isnt Earl
      The right, of course, likes to make hay wailing about frivolous litigation. But that's when it's litigation by regular, non-rich people against corporations. There's a good bet that we're about to find out that the right of corporations to file frivolous litigation to drag out the union election process is a God-given right and that if employers can no longer delay elections by 25-30 days to allow them to request Board review of Regional Director rulings they almost never actually request review of, workers will somehow be forcibly assimilated into the union borg.

      Hmmm... Funny. When we're talking about working class folk suing when their houses are full of toxins "killing them softly", those are "EVIL FRIVOLOUS LAW SUITS!!!!" that must be stopped. But when big corporations use/abuse the legal process to deny their workers a union, then that's good and holy and "all American" and patriotic.

  •  They'll freak out over this one: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atdnext

    "Require employers to provide a final voter list in electronic form soon after the scheduling of an election, including voters’ telephone numbers and email addresses when available."

    "Union thugs" intimidating employees at all hours of the night, conveniently forgetting the 8 or so hours the employer typically has with them.  

    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Loge on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 07:46:28 AM PDT

  •  I know I'm going to appear dense (3+ / 0-)

    but I did read through the diary twice and still am somewhat confused by this sentence:

    These changes represent not new law, but new guidelines for following current law—and incredibly modest ones at that.

    These changes appear to be regulatory not guidelines because of the announcement (which I assume is in the Federal Register as a proposed rule) and the 60 day comment period pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act.

    There is a fundamental difference between guidelines and regulations since guidelines are generally helpful clarifications of rules and regulations can be sources of legal challenges.  Yes, this is not new "law" because the creation of laws are the bailiwick of Congress; but it is a new regulation with legal ramifications.

    I might sound nitpicky but for years, the CT DEP gave guidelines the force of regulation which is illegal -- and they have been in the process of cleaning up that blurring of the lines.

    Sorry for the long comment.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 07:52:30 AM PDT

  •  Here's what they'll go after (0+ / 0-)

    Not the content of the rule itself, but the fact that the Board is rulemaking.  They'll go on and on about how it's Obama grasping power from the legislature because the Board hasn't traditionally acted with rulemaking authority (to the detriment of labor law itself).  The right wingers have been setting this up for months by fear mongering over "EFCA by rulemaking".

    Heaven forbid an agency exercise the authority granted to it by Congress!

    Fact are stubborn things. -John Adams

    by circlesnshadows on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 08:10:23 AM PDT

  •  While this should not be controversial it's still (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    .... new regulation, not "guidelines." Once in force, whatever they say is mandatory.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 08:13:49 AM PDT

  •  Much, much more constructive than the Boeing (0+ / 0-)

    "issue".

  •  The NLRB has no teeth to enforce anything. (3+ / 0-)

    It won't matter if these new rules are adopted or not.

    The Local 500 I.A.T.S.E. Stagehands Union won a dispute against The Kravis Center For The Performing Arts here in West Palm Beach, Fl. The NLRB ruled twice in their favor: one of those times it was George Bush's NLRB, and 2  Courts also ruled in their favor. One of those Courts was a Federal Court.

    The Kravis is guilty of unfair labor practices but they still won't give the Union a contract and they have behaved the same way after all those rulings as they did before them.

    They were fired for being in a Union. They were fired because they had a very strong collective bargaining unit which included even the non-union people who were hired to replace them.

    It has been over 10 years since they first went to the NLRB, and we are still outside picketing for Justice.

    Worse than all that is some our own Democratic Party Officials: or people trying to win elections as Democrats will still cross our picket line to go in there.

  •  This has been a long time coming (0+ / 0-)

    Union representation elections must be the most undemocratic and one sided elections in America.  It takes a Herculean feat to organize a union in today's American private sector.  This is a good step, but there is still a lot to be addressed, such as the first contract bargaining phase where employers can bargain in bad faith with no teeth to enforce the employees' will.

  •  I fully expect the Total Outrage Response (0+ / 0-)

    to ANY proposed change to law or regulations that would make it easier for unions to organize and/or operate. They -- rank and file wingnuttia -- have been outraged for scores of years that the very concept of organized labor isn't illegal. And labor unions threaten wingnuttia's shadowy masters in the pocketbook, so you can expect the expression of said outrage to be very well-funded indeed.

    I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

    by eataTREE on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 08:58:11 AM PDT

  •  Hallelujah! 'Bout time... (0+ / 0-)

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:56:16 AM PDT

  •  I don't think this will make (0+ / 0-)

    a damn bit of difference. NLRB is highly influenced by the party in power. This looks like table scraps thrown toward unions before an election season.

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