Business Groups: New NLRB Rules Favor Unions Over Employers

Tuesday, 19 Jul 2011 12:29 PM

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Business groups allege that new rules the National Labor Relations Board is proposing to streamline union elections would stack the deck against employers. Unions, however, say the rules are long overdue in a system that now tilts toward employers, The Washington Post reported.

The two opposing view were aired in a hearing on the rule, which is intended to eliminate delays in union elections. Unions maintain that the law now favors employers and explains why union membership has shrunk in the private sector from 36 percent to 7 percent in the past 50 years. Employers maintain that speeding up the process would cut the time they have to consult with lawyers and talk with employees.

“It is patently unfair to make it virtually impossible for an employer to present the other side of the organizers’ pitch,” said Brett McMahon, a vice president of Miller and Long Construction, a large nonunion contractor in the Washington area.

“What is to fear from a fully engaged presentation of the facts from the employer’s perspective?” the Post quotes McMahon as saying.

Union representatives countered that employers have plenty of time to talk with employees. “The board processes as they exist today have become hijacked by the employers,” said Margaret McCann, representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “How has it become that the election process has been subsumed by the employer’s right to communicate with its employees?”

The proposed rules would put off until after elections employer challenges such as who is eligible to join a union and remove waiting periods. The changes could shorten the period between a petition filing and election to as little as 10 days, from a median wait of 38 days, the Post reported.

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