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Restoring Fairness and Balance to Labor Policies

The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), held a legislative hearing today on proposals to restore balance to federal labor policies.

“Over the last eight years, the board launched an activist agenda aimed at tilting the balance of power toward powerful special interests,” Chairman Walberg said. “Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the hardworking men and women who keep our economy moving. Decision after decision by the NLRB restricted the rights of workers and employers … It’s long past time to put an end to these misguided policies.”

Witnesses described the consequences of the NLRB’s actions.

Karen Cox, a worker from Illinois, recounted how she was forced into a union without a choice: “I thought at least we had time to educate ourselves and have a fair vote. But then I came into work one day and was told that the union was in and we were not going to have an election ... To me, it was un-American, and many of my coworkers agreed.”

“That’s why I support the Employee Rights Act, which guarantees a secret ballot vote,” Cox said. “I want to ensure that other employees don’t find themselves in the situation my coworkers and I were in — stuck with a union we didn’t have a chance to vote for and that is difficult if not impossible to remove from the workplace.”

Nancy McKeague, vice president of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, raised concerns over the NLRB’s ambush election rule, which gives workers less time to consider the pros and cons of joining a union and forces employers to hand over their employees’ private information to union organizers. 

“Unless employers have adequate time to prepare their educational materials and to share this information with their employees, employees will not have adequate time to learn the employer’s perspective on the impact of collective bargaining on the workplace,” McKeague said. She added that the “requirement to provide so much confidential information about an employer’s employees constitutes an invasion of privacy for employees” and “goes against everything that HR professionals have been trained to do.”

McKeague urged Congress to support the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776) to “restore the balance between the rights of employees, employers, and labor organizations” and the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775) to “[provide] employees the privacy they desire in the 21st century workplace.”

Speaking in support of H.R. 2776, labor attorney Seth Borden said, “[The] rights of employees to seek union representation and the equal rights of employees to refrain from such representation must be properly balanced … [The bill] goes a long way to restoring the appropriate balance between all interests involved.”

He also noted that H.R. 2775 would reinstate policies that “worked sufficiently for nearly fifty years.”

In closing, Chairman Walberg reaffirmed the committee’s commitment to advancing positive reforms, saying, “These are all commonsense proposals that will protect the rights of workers and restore balance and fairness to the rules governing union elections.” 


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