In a markup today, the committee approved, H.R. 4320, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act introduced by House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN), and H.R. 4321, the Employee Privacy Protection Act introduced by Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN). The bills reverse the flawed NLRB ambush elections proposal. An amendment, introduced by Representative Tom Price (R-GA), expanded the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act’s scope to also strike down another NLRB decision that created micro-unions.
“Retailers applaud the committee for recognizing the threat posed by these flawed NLRB decisions. If allowed to go into effect, the ambush elections and micro-union decisions will create unnecessary conflict in the workplace and deny employees and employers of their free speech and due process rights,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president of government affairs at RILA. “We encourage the House to act quickly on these bills to protect the rights of workers and employers.”
The NLRB’s proposed ambush election rule would shorten the time frame for union elections, deny employers their free speech and due process rights and prevent employee access to information necessary to make informed choices.
Micro-unions are the result of the 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, in which the NLRB redefined what could be considered a proper bargaining unit. This interpretation allows organizers to gerrymander a workplace by cherry-picking groups of employees within a larger workforce to form micro-unions.
“Micro-unions detract from the flexibility that make retail positions attractive to employees and inhibit the cross-training and interconnectedness that forms the foundation of the customer service experience.” Hughes added.
Recently, NLRB regional directors have applied the flawed standard in retail settings, approving micro-unions in the women’s shoe department of a New York Bergdorf Goodman store and the cosmetic and fragrance departments at a Macy’s department store in Massachusetts.
“Retailers appreciate the efforts of Chairman Kline, Rep. Roe and Rep. Price to fight back against efforts of the NLRB to erode employer and employee rights through ambush elections, invasions of privacy and the proliferation of toxic labor practices,” Hughes concluded.
Earlier this week, RILA sent a letter to Chairman Kline underscoring its support for H.R. 4320 and H.R. 4321 and the importance of taking action to address the NLRB assault on American businesses. The letter outlined the importance of protecting employers’ right to free speech and due process, employees’ access to information and the need to prevent the NLRB from helping organized labor trample the privacy of employees.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.