The Shop Steward in the White House

Ronald Melsburg in the 9/4 Wall Street Journal, probably in honor of Labor Day, has written a disturbing article for those of your who head companies larger than 50 employees. Mr. Melsburg is clearly a labor lawyer, and a prominent one, so keep the name around.

His central point is that none of the newer NLRB decisions or diktats would have happened if Obama weren’t in the White House. The WSJ has obliged with a wonderfully demonic picture of BHO for the occasion.

You probably know that the NLRB is no friend of small and larger businesses, but apparently it’s gotten worse. We missed it because we write from right to work Arizona, with a grand total of 5.3% of our workforce unionized, which ranks 36th of 50 states.

Melsburg makes 3 points (I’ve expanded them to 4) wherein the NLRB has expanded worker, and or union, rights:

1. It has given employees ‘unprecedented power to use employer email for union purposes and to challenge employer-conduct rules– such as rules requiring politeness and civility ‘ in the workplace as overly broad and unlawful. So much for running a tranquil workplace.

2. The NLRB has also paved the way for employees to avoid arbitration of workplace disputes in favor of judicial class actions and their potential for legal actions. Which means you might go find a labor lawyer in your town. I’ve been blessed to find good ones when I twice needed them.

3. The NLRB has granted the unions almost unlimited power to define the groups of employees that the union wishes to organize. The definited group can also be quite narrow, so the union can get it’s foot in your plant door. With a small, sympathetic group, the unions can engineer victories, which gives them entrée to the rest of your workers. Drip, drip, drip. Unions already have a natural advantage, because they can prepare their campaigns to organize workers, and once they do, employers are limited in what they can say to counter union organizing statements.

4. Finally, the NLRB issued a ‘join employer’ decision on August 27, making it far easier to get a toehold for unions, since they can organize at a location or franchise, and those organizing principles in that shop mean that the company must bargain with the union nationally. This is a really remarkable overreach, and will probably get overturned if it’s appealed. If it is appealed, you-know-who will probably be out of office, and the NLRB commissioners will be changed.

So, happy labor day to all of you.

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