Congressional Republicans Call for Reform at NLRB

The National Labor Relations
Board (NLRB) has made employers’ operations unnecessarily cumbersome over the
past eight years of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to
Republican members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee during a
Feb. 14 oversight hearing. Democratic members responded that the Republicans
were unfairly taking aim at unions and employees.

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The NLRB
is supposed to be a neutral arbiter, “although you wouldn’t know it from
the actions it has taken in recent years,” said Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich.,
and chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions,
which conducted the hearing.

He
faulted the Obama board for greenlighting:

  • An “ambush” election rule that he said chills employer free speech,
        hampers worker free choice, and jeopardizes the privacy of workers and their families by requiring employers to provide personal e-mail addresses and home and personal cellphone numbers of employees to organizing unions.
  • A new joint employer standard that makes two separate entities joint employers even if the larger one has only indirect control of the
        smaller company’s operations. The old test required direct control.
  • Micro-bargaining units, creating the possibility of multiple unions representing various employees in the same workplace.
  • Unionization on college campuses among graduate students and student athletes.

“Small
business owners and entrepreneurs deserve better,” Walberg said.
“Workers and families deserve better. And this Congress will demand
better. In the weeks and months ahead, we will do everything we can to turn back
this failed, activist agenda and restore balance and fairness to the
board.”

The new
joint employer standard in particular has left franchisees in limbo, as
franchisors are now more hesitant to help out franchisees for fear of being
labeled joint employers, testified Reem Aloul, the president of Zay
Enterprises, doing business as BrightStar Care of Arlington, Va., a home care
franchise.

Rep. David Roe, R-Tenn., called
the “ambush” election rule “a solution looking for a
problem.”

Representing
an opposing viewpoint, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, criticized the hearing as
“the 25th hearing on this same exact subject” since the Republicans
took control of the House of Representatives in 2011. She claimed the
Republicans were trying “to eviscerate all workers’ rights” and that
the hearing was an “attack on unions.”

She urged
those at the hearing to remember that they were talking about people who
typically earn a minimum wage that’s “impossible to live on.”

“Remember
we have real people’s lives at stake,” she said—people who don’t have the
opportunity to defend themselves in these kinds of settings.

Davis
noted that individuals in nonright-to-work states, where unions can be
organized, on average earn $6,000 less than those in right-to-work states and
that 80 percent of them have health care versus 50 percent in right-to-work
states.

And Rep.
Rick Allen, R-Ga., said he was disturbed by the pitting of employers versus
employees. He told of one employee working at his business for 40 years who was
out of work for six weeks to donate a kidney. The business paid for the whole
time off. “I don’t think we would have if we’d been unionized,” he
said. Paid time off might not be provided for in some collective bargaining
agreements (CBAs), and unionized companies might hesitate to depart from the
terms of painstakingly negotiated CBAs.

Given recent events, changes in
employment law will be quite unpredictable. If your HR department is not fully
prepared for the near future, it may be time to enlist a team of experts.
Converge HR Solutions offers many different services, including HR outsourcing,
payroll, recruitment, and making sure your business remains compliant. Visit our website for more information visit https://convergehrsolutions.com/. Contact us directly at info@convergehrsolutions.com or 610-296-8550.

Article source: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/nlrb-congressional-oversight-hearing.aspx

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