Congressional Democrats Launch Attack on NLRB Decisions

On December 13, House and Senate Democrats held a joint subcommittee hearing, criticizing the National Labor Relations Board for a spate of decisions that the Democrats claim undermine workers’ rights to unionize. 

The Democrats voiced their concern over a spate of cases the Board has issued in recent months, including the Dana Corp. decision which has been discussed extensively on this blog.

Sen. Edward Kennedy stated that the Board “is no longer fulfilling its responsibility to protect the voice of American workers.” Kennedy also claimed that the Board has engaged in “an unprecedented rollback” in the protection of workers rights during the past five years.

Given the appointment process of Board members, the NLRB is an inherently political organization, and can be an easy political target. At the same time, the Board is charged with interpreting and ensuring compliance with the NLRA. Recently, Congress and unions seem more preoccupied with blaming the Board for widespread union woes in the country, when in fact, unions should be looking inward to examine their own shortcomings in appealing to workers instead.    

Although this hearing was likely a one-time event, expect to hear more about recent Board rulings affecting union elections, especially as the Presidential Primaries gear up in the next few weeks. 

The AFL-CIO's vast right-wing conspiracy continues

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney lambasted President Bush at the first-ever global summit on organizing at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Sweeney stated that:

President Bush and his cronies have done all they can to destroy workers’ rights around the world. The truth is until we are able to restore basic workers’ rights in the United States, the worldwide decline will not stop. 

Sweeney’s solution: the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act . Apparently, in the AFL-CIO President’s mind, a restoration of workers’ rights involves the removal of the very basic right to a secret ballot election. 

The AFL-CIO seems unable to recognize that workers’ rights are not the same thing as union organizing successes. Perhaps their lack of concern for workers’ free choice is one of the major reasons that private sector unionization raters are at an all time low. 

AFL-CIO gets it wrong on workers' rights--again

AFL-CIO National Organizing Director Steward Acuff is railing against the hijacking of the National Labor Relations Board by “by the corrupt corporate and radical right-wing forces,” supposedly backed by President Bush in a bid to deny the election of ‘progressive’ politicians. 

Acuff’s bone of contention is 61 decision handed down by the Board this fall that he claims “further restrict and weaken already shamefully weak and ineffective workers rights in America.”

Acuff seems to object mainly against the Board’s decision in Dana Corp., which as discussed in previous posts, offers a firm rebuke by the Board against the EFCA, and its would-be allowance of card-check recognition for unions.

It is articles like this that show how out of touch union organizers are with rank-and-file workers. Contrary to Acuff’s belief that secret ballot elections deny workers’ their right to unionize, elections protect a workers' free choice, by allowing them to make a selection by secret ballot free from any immediate pressure or coercion.

Apparently, the AFL-CIO is unable to distinguish between workers rejecting unionization on their own accord with some vast unidentified conspiracy to deny workers their right to unionize.