The National Labor Relations Board is in the midst of a two-day hearing (being live-tweeted by the AFL-CIO
) on its proposed rule change to streamline
union representation elections.
The hearing is slated to have testimony from 63 people on both sides of the issue. On the anti-reform side, we have people like Arnold E. Perl speaking for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whose participation is because:
“The Tennessee Chamber has a natural interest in the proposed election rules given that the state of Tennessee’s union membership in the private sector is 2.2 percent, the second lowest in the United States,” Perl told the four-member panel.
Further, in arguing against a proposal to minimize the abuse of delaying tactics, Perl claimed that unions abuse delaying tactics. Follow that logic!
Workers from several sectors testified in favor of the proposal. One SEIU member whose workplace recently joined their union after a 13-year effort, said that management did not stop at hiring security to keep out union organizers and holding anti-union meetings during work hours:
"We tried to move forward, but hospital management stopped us from every angle. The most extreme tactic management used was to subcontract out the hospital's respiratory care services just 12 days before the union election as a way to prevent employees from voting. They were still working in the St. Vincent building, but now they suddenly worked for a different company. As a result, the hospital claimed they were ineligible to vote."
"The RC therapists were about 25 percent of our 100 person bargaining unit and were among the strongest supporters of the union and the core of our organizing efforts. By preventing them from voting, the subcontracting decision completely undermined everything we had worked for. They knew there was no way we could win the election without votes of workers in one of the hospital's largest units."
It took six years of litigation before that issue was settled in the workers' favor.
The NLRB's proposal would not prevent employers from making workers sit through anti-union meetings or interrogating workers one-on-one about their support for a union. It wouldn't strengthen penalties on those who break the law, often by illegally firing workers for their union activity. It would just give them a little less time to do those things and bring union representation elections into the 21st century by requiring electronic voter lists be provided in a timely fashion and allowing electronic filing of documents. And the bosses are terrified of it.