A plan to streamline procedures for union representation elections has outraged republicans and their business allies.
And that’s exactly what the Obama Administration wants to see.
The proposed rule changes by the National Labor Relations Board could close the gap between union filing and worker voting, making it slightly harder for employers to gear up anti-union campaigns.
Union-avoidance advocates (a.k.a. union busters) depend on long delays to frustrate workers. Obama appointments to the NLRB recognize this and are driving the proposal, prompting accusations from the right that the president is in the pocket of union “bosses”.
Congressional conservatives have already threatened to de-fund the independent agency over charges by the NLRB general counsel against Boeing for allegedly punishing union workers in the northwest by moving work to a nonunion plant in the southeast.
(And though it’s not an NLRB matter, republicans have recently gone berserk because the administration allowed federal airport screeners to vote to go union).
Before year’s end, two NLRB seats - currently held by democrats - will expire. Look for a big political fight with senate republicans filibustering Obama’s picks.
This gives the white house a perfect opportunity to showcase its loyalty - and republican hostility - to organized labor, easing our disappointments with the president and congressional democrats just in time for the 2012 election season.