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FEBRUARY 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Anti-union group files challenge against NLRB appointments

LEHIGH VALLEY, January 21st- The anti-union National Right-to-Work foundation attorney’s have joined other pro-business groups in challenging the legality of President Obama’s recent recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The organization filed a motion in federal court on January 13th, 2012 challenging the legality of the recess apppointments to the five-member NLRB. The legal challenge is part of a larger case involving new NLRB rules that require every employer to post complete information about employee rights online and in the workplace, even if they’ve never violated federal labor law.

The organization also opposes new NLRB standards that would shorten when workers could vote whether they want to be represented by a labor union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

On June 21st, 2011, the NLRB issued a proposed rule that would potentially remove some of the frivolous litigation that anti-union employers use in union elections that often delay when the employees get to vote on whether they want to be union represented after they have requested the agency conduct an election.

Under the new rule, which is supported by President Obama, representation elections conducted by the NLRB would be held more quickly from the time a petition is filed requesting a union election.

Before a labor organization can file a petition requesting a election at least 30 percent of the employees must support the union and sign the petition requesting the NLRB conduct an election.

A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote employees in a NLRB election to win the right to represent them in collective bargaining.

The proposal would substantially reduced the amount of time employees and employers may communicate prior to the election and will limit the hearings on voter eligibilty, the appropriateness of the unit, and election misconduct.

The United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC sued the NLRB to challenge the new rule because of what they termed was a new “ambush election rule.”

“When Congress wisely declined to take up the card check bill, it quickly became clear that the NLRB would work to accomplish the priorities of organized labor through whatever means necessary,” stated Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits.

“This rule has no conceivable purpose but to make it easier for unions to win elections. While couched in technicalities, the purpose of this regulation is to cut-off free speech rights to educate employees about the effects of unionization. The elimination of these rights has long been on the wish list of organized labor and the Board has dutifully granted that wish,” Mr. Johnson told the newspaper.

However, in reality, employers often want the extra time to hire anti-union lawfirms and consultants, at the cost of thousands of dollars, that will attempt to convince the employees not to support the union or make promises to threat them better if they vote gainst unionization.

In motion papers, the Right-to-Work foundation argue that the appointees to the NLRB are not legitimate because the U.S. Senate was still in session during the holiday season, therefore there was no “recess” for the President to make the appointments.

Republicans have failed to vote on Mr. Obama’s appointments despite the fact the NLRB could not conduct business because it lack a quorum with only two standing members.

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