Chairmen of the Committee of Education and the Workforce Rep. John Kline (R-MN) held a hearing on whether Big Labor’s pressure to speed up union elections has a detrimental impact of workers’ free choice.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has introduced a new proposal, ostensibly to modernize what it believes to be an anachronistic set of rules, but surreptitiously favors bully union practices and puts an undue burden on small business.

Chairmen Kline opened with a quote from the Wall Street Journal.  Solemnly stating, “The stumbling recovery has also proven to be the worst since the economic disaster of the 1930s,” Chairmen Kline began the hearing with an ominous and foreboding tone that belied both his frustration and dwindling patience.  He accused “an activist NLRB [of] crafting a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”  He continues, calling the proposal a “step in the wrong direction” and calls for a “reverse [of] course.”

Referring to the proposal as “flawed,” and going on to cite statistics that indicate the current system allows for timely elections without putting outrageous resource burdens on employers, the Chairmen opens with a strong case for the status quo.  Because the “Obama board,” a group beholden to a president indebted to Union interests, favors unions and bigger government, this group of activist members, in the words of Chairmen Kline, “seems to believe the current process isn’t doing enough to advance the cause of Big Labor.  Although unions currently win 70% of all elections, it appears as though the NLRB feels so indentured to Big Labor that it is working as hard as it can to promote union interests.

The new proposal places a higher value on the views of labor unions than the employees they aim to amalgamate through fear and intimidation.  Because the new proposal would allow union elections to take place a scant 10 days after the filing of the petition.  

While the committee may hold more hearings, we saw testimony from a former NLRB head who opposes the new rules, a labor attorney who views them as dangerous, a factory worker who faced off against union organized who tried to take over his plant, the owner of a small concrete supply company representing the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and an academic who supports the measures and fears not the slippery slope.

With the first hearings over, buzz about holding more, and both sides keeping score, it looks like many of the witnesses oppose the new rules on the grounds that they favor unions, hurt small business, stifle worker choice, allow for union organizers to be more invasive with their scare tactics, and show that that NLRB is acting beyond its intended boundaries and invading space within the purview of Congress.  We’ll see what happens.