Today, in a letter addressed to House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) underscored its support for H.R. 4320, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, introduced by the Chairman and H.R. 4321, the Employee Privacy Protection Act introduced by House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), and urged swift passage of legislation to push back against the activist, anti-business agenda of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The letter, submitted in advance of mark-up on the legislation, outlines the significant concerns of the retail industry regarding recent attempts by the NLRB to make significant and unnecessary changes to a well-functioning union election system and jeopardized employee privacy.
“We commend Chairman Kline and Representative Roe for taking action to maintain the appropriate balance between employer and employee rights against an overzealous NLRB,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president of government affairs at RILA. “It is imperative that Congress pass legislation to curb the NLRB’s efforts to erode employee and employer rights. Proliferation of these dangerous NLRB policies will have a negative effect on the retail industry, its employees and its customers.”
The NLRB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “ambush elections” would shorten the time frame for elections to take place, threatening employer’s free speech and due process rights and employee access to information essential to making an informed choice. In addition, the proposed regulation would force employers to provide union organizers with private and confidential employee information including home addresses, email addresses, and home phone numbers.
“When considering the long-documented history of the NLRB’s assault against businesses, the ambush election issue is cause for serious concern among the retail community. Limiting employees’ access to critical information in the days leading up to a vote and muzzling employers has the potential to worsen other problematic NLRB directives,” Hughes wrote in the letter.
Under the current system, more than 95 percent of elections are held within two months, according to the NLRB’s own statistics. Allowing the NLRB rule to come into effect would jeopardize employee privacy, violate employer-employee trust and prevent employees from hearing both sides of the issue prior to making significant decision.
The continued attempts by the NLRB to erode employer and employee rights with the ambush elections rule, coupled with another flawed NLRB decision that creates micro-unions and gerrymanders workplaces, have the potential to stunt job creation and employee advancement at a time when the economy can ill afford it.
“RILA strongly supports your efforts to preserve employer and employee rights to free speech, due process and privacy. We thank you for introducing this legislation,” Hughes concludes in the letter.
The letter to Chairman Kline can be read in full here.
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.