Wednesday, March 1, 2017

U.S. Chamber calls for common sense restoration of the NLRB … and I couldn’t agree more

To say that I have not felt overly optimistic about our nation’s course over next four years would be a bit of an understatement. One area, however, about which I am very optimistic is the expected retooling of the National Labor Relations Board.

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative published a comprehensive report outlining the areas of federal labor law that the NLRB must address to restore balance to the workplace.

The report, entitled, Restoring Common Sense to Labor Law: 10 Policies to Fix at the National Labor Relations Board [pdf], lists the following 10 NLRB policies, each of which swung way too far to the left under President Obama’s NLRB. Listed in my order of significance:
  1. Invalidating a wide range of employee handbook policies to prevent obnoxious, obscene, and harassing behavior
  2. Exposing businesses to “joint employer” liability for workplaces they do not control and workers they do not employ
  3. Prohibiting class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements, which are intended to speed the resolution of workplace disputes and discourage costly class action litigation
  4. Eroding the confidentiality of workplace investigations
  5. Allowing workplace “ambush” elections over whether to form a union in as few as 10 days
  6. Expanding picketing rights at the expense of employers’ private property rights
  7. Mandating that employer-owned email systems may be used for union organizing activities
  8. Authorizing small groups of employees—or “micro unions”—to organize
  9. Restricting unions and employers from voluntarily agreeing to resolve unforeseen bargaining issues via “management rights” clauses
  10. Forcing employers to bargain with a union before the two parties even reach a first contract
President Trump has already taken a step in the right direction, by naming Philip Miscimarra (a vocal and outspoken critic of his own agency over the past few years) as acting chair of the NLRB. While it will take time for President Trump to turn the Board over and appoint a majority of NLRB members, I am confident that by the end of his term in office, the landscape of our federal labor laws will look very different than it does now.