NLRB agrees to new rules that will harm workers, job creation

posted at 10:45 am on August 31, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The National Labor Relations Board yesterday issued three decisions that will make it easier for workers to unionize even when a majority of workers prefer to remain non-union. The Wall Street Journal reports:

In a case known as Specialty Healthcare, the board decided that the union could seek to organize a group that consists only of nursing assistants, a blow to the employer, which wanted to include other nonprofessional employees in the unit. Employer groups had been concerned the board would use the health-care industry case to endorse the formation of so-called mini-bargaining units in a range of workplaces, which they said would allow unions to target small groups of workers the unions know would support unionization. …

In another case known as Lamons Gasket Co., the board decided that employees opposed to a union would no longer have the right to immediately challenge the recognition of a “card-check” election—in which employees sign cards to show their interest in joining. Unions prefer the card-check method over secret-ballot elections.

In the third case, known as UGL-Unicco Service Co., the board decided that after the sale of a unionized company, the new owner, the employees or a rival union can’t immediately challenge the incumbent union’s right to represent the workers. Instead, there must be a “reasonable period” of time for collective bargaining to have “a fair chance to succeed,” the board’s Democrats decided.

As might be expected, all three decisions were made along party lines. The three Democrats on the board voted in favor, while the lone Republican voted against. They also came at a particularly interesting time: NLRB Chairman Wilma Leibman’s term expires this Saturday. President Obama has already named as the new chair another Democrat already on the board — Mark Pearce. With Leibman’s departure, the board consists of just three members — concentrating power in the hands of an even smaller number of unelected bureaucrats.

Of the three decisions issued yesterday, the first, in particular, is troubling. Current law defines the appropriate bargaining unit as similarly situated workers who share a community of interests, but the new rule allows unions to define the appropriate bargaining unit as workers with the same job title. Such micro unions disenfranchise those employees who do not want a union; prevent career advancement by limiting workers to the work entailed under specific job titles; and redistribute wages from the non-union employees outside the micro union to the union employees within the micro union. James Sherk, a labor economist at The Heritage Foundation, explains each of these downsides:

Disenfranchising Workers. Under the board’s proposal, unions could organize micro unions at businesses in which most workers oppose unionizing. For example, most workers might oppose unionizing at a store in which the union had majority support among cashiers. The union could organize a unit representing just cashiers, excluding shelf stockers and greeters. This would allow unions to gerrymander bargaining units to create one in which they have majority support. …

Preventing Career Advancement. Unions insist on work rules that strictly define what work can and cannot be done by members of the bargaining unit. Separate unions representing individual job titles would prevent companies from training workers for and assigning them to jobs in different bargaining units as needed.

For example, the machinists union would not allow a company to train a welder to operate their machines. They would insist that their members perform all precision machine work. This would limit employees’ opportunities to learn new skills and employers’ ability to assign workers where they are needed most, which would both reduce productivity and limit workers’ opportunities to advance within the company. …

Redistributing Wages. Permitting micro unions would also enable unions to redistribute wages from nonunion workers to union members. Unions know that companies in competitive markets have little ability to increase total pay. Businesses cannot raise prices without losing customers. Consequently, unions typically negotiate contracts that keep average pay—and total costs—constant. Unions reward their supporters by redistributing wages within the company. Union contracts typically give lower pay to high performers and higher pay to less productive workers.

If the NLRB allows micro unions, they will also attempt to redistribute wages to their members at the expense of nonunion workers. Micro unions will threaten to strike to get higher pay for their members, forcing companies to choose between a strike shutting down their operations or giving higher pay to unionized units and lower pay to nonunion units. Faced with such a choice, many employers would give in to union demands. This would also put pressure on nonunion employees to unionize to prevent their pay from being redistributed.

Sherk points out that multiple micro unions within a company also increase the cost of business operations because they require employers to negotiate multiple collective bargaining agreements.

But the largest problem with the new NLRB rules has to do with job creation — purportedly the president’s top priority. In general, employment in unionized businesses grows 3 percent to 4 percent more slowly than employment in nonunionized firms, according to Sherk. To promote unionization for the sake of unionization — and not because workers really need or want to unionize — at a time of more than 9 percent unemployment makes little sense and belies the NLRB’s pro-union agenda — an agenda its three Democratic members will pursue even at the expense of the nation’s agenda to create jobs and grow the economy.


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I get upset everytime I hear about the NLRB. Great post again Tina. Your blogs have been steppin up lately. Especially the Generation Vexed article yesterday.

TheQuestion on August 31, 2011 at 10:48 AM

One of the first acts of the new CONSERVATIVE president in January 2013 should be to “executive order” the NLRB out of existence!

jbh45 on August 31, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The idea for the one Republican commissioner to resign and for Congress to hold pro-forma sessions to prevent recess appointments sounds good here.

Per Big Government, that one commissioner resigning means that the NLRB would have too few members to operate and would be dissolved for the time being.

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Well America, you get the government you vote for. Congratulations libtards.
Hey, what kind of union membership does Warren Buffet’s many companies have? Just curious.

Sugar Land on August 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Sherk points out that multiple micro unions within a company also increase the cost of business operations because they require employers to negotiate multiple collective bargaining agreements

Yes sir. See public schools and their union make up.

Teachers, 1 or 2; Principles and admins, another 1; secretary’s – many are under the Principles union as “admin staff” some are their own union. SEIU – janitors, maintenance.

Now factor in the union hacks who win buds (I use “win” lightly) for electrical, AV, HVAC, etc…

Yeah – now we see how micro unions within unions of a system bloat costs, increse “chit not getting done” and of course, the horrid testing scores for most American public schools.

Odie1941 on August 31, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Right to work laws? Can non union employees sue the union for ‘hostile work environment’? Who would want to work there, in that environment? It would be like living Facebook’s Mafia Wars in real life.

Skandia Recluse on August 31, 2011 at 10:52 AM

This country must stop forming all these pukey little boards, commissions and other groups that usurp the power of elected government. They’re nothing but shams to provide jobs for political stooges.

rplat on August 31, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I the Republican resigns – or runs off to an Illinois hotel or something, will the NLRB Politburo have a quorum? Or will Obama have to try to appoint someone?

forest on August 31, 2011 at 10:54 AM

See public schools and their union make up.

It’s about as bad with the airlines.

There are separate unions for pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and so forth, which is why certain airlines are continually having labor problems.

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Only 508 more days…sheesh

DanMan on August 31, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I the Republican resigns – or runs off to an Illinois hotel or something, will the NLRB Politburo have a quorum? Or will Obama have to try to appoint someone?

forest on August 31, 2011 at 10:54 AM

My understanding is that he has to appoint someone for the NLRB to meet, either via Congressional approval or via recess appointment.

Holding pro-forma sessions and having enough votes to block a nominee means they should be able to kill the NLRB for at least the next 18 months.

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Why does this exist?

MassVictim on August 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

We really, really need to repeal the Wagner Act. At the vary least, unions should have to show that an employer monopalizes employment before they canonopolize labor.

Count to 10 on August 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

It’s the UNION way.

GarandFan on August 31, 2011 at 10:59 AM

We really, really need to repeal the Wagner Act. At the vary least, unions should have to show that an employer monopalizes employment before they canonopolize labor.
Count to 10 on August 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Um, err, “can monopolize labor”.
Yikes.

Count to 10 on August 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

“But the largest problem with the new NLRB rules has to do with job creation — purportedly the president’s top priority.”

No. The LARGEST problem is the assumption that this kind of power can legitimately be exercised by a bureaucratic entity.

The regulatory agencies under Obama have become de facto legislators, enacting the legislative agenda of the administration sans the legislature.

In so very many instances, the regulations are designed to benefit, strengthen, and bolster the Democrat party.

They need to stop. But they will not. So they need to be made to stop. By any means necessary, or we will lose this country.

IronDioPriest on August 31, 2011 at 11:03 AM

See public schools and their union make up.
It’s about as bad with the airlines.

There are separate unions for pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and so forth, which is why certain airlines are continually having labor problems.

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Very true teke. I was waiting for a delayed flight in Atlanta (surprise!) and was chatting up a pissed off pilot. He broke down the levels of unions, clearance, rules, laws, overlapping rules and laws – to basically conclude: There is another plane here, gassed up, with a crew – but the food service contract had to be something, something… so the flight cant go out, we have to wait for a contracted flight to arrive with the appropriate food. Heres the kicker – the flight was the minimum within like 7 mintues for food to be offred… by contract.

So we waited 4 hours for some crappy food that I had to have offered… by 7 minutes.

Odie1941 on August 31, 2011 at 11:03 AM

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Good. I’d like to see them do anything possible to stop this insanity.

forest on August 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=8336724&rss=rss-kabc-article-8336724

The Congressional Black Caucus is trying to help by organizing job fairs across the country. Congresswoman Maxine Waters also wants to help by putting more pressure on the big banks to help with mortgages.

“If they don’t come up with loan modifications and keep people in their homes that they’ve worked so hard for, we’re going to tax them out of business,” said Waters.

William Amos on August 31, 2011 at 11:08 AM

And who says unions and Democrats aren’t socialists?

gwelf on August 31, 2011 at 11:12 AM

That first decision will cause all kinds of workplace problems and litigation. The unionized sub-group will demand a well defined group of tasks that nobody else is allowed to do.

This is going to be bad news for healthcare. Can you imagine the union guy taking his regular breaks, and some piece of equipment that only ‘nursing assistants’ are allowed to operate needs to be put into action right away. So a nurse or orderly does the forbidden task so somebody doesn’t die, and you end up with grievances, complaints, lawsuits etc. It’ll be unworkable.

terkerjerbs!

forest on August 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Unions say “jump”. Obama says “how high”?

txhsmom on August 31, 2011 at 11:15 AM

To think, unions used to have to rely on organized crime to get their way.

Now, the NRLB does the heavy lifting for them.

Democrats are so awesome.

/

BuckeyeSam on August 31, 2011 at 11:15 AM

I can not tell you how much I detest unions and their union thugs! That trumpka is in bed big time with bho also seeing to it the unions get what they want.
L

letget on August 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Shorter version:

You don’t mess with the (Democrat) Family’s business, if you know what’s good for you.

The difference between the mafia and democrats is that the mob doesn’t put its threats in writing.

Vashta.Nerada on August 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

But keep in mind, that the likely GOP nominee will be a Christian who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage will represent the end times.

BuckeyeSam on August 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

More votes and money for Obama and his democratic thugs, and more destruction of the American economy, a twofer. Seems like a no-brainer.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 31, 2011 at 11:20 AM

OT/ Seems Sarah won’t be giving her Sept. 3 speech in Iowa after all. At least the headlines above say so.

sandee on August 31, 2011 at 11:21 AM

The difference between the mafia and democrats is that the mob doesn’t put its threats in writing.

Vashta.Nerada on August 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

The mob, although detestable, had more integrity in their pinky rings than these folks have in their whole bodies. And that is saying something.

VegasRick on August 31, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Smells like Victory

http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-20110831-wausau-parade-ban,0,4012628.story?track=rss

The Marathon County Labor Council has reversed a decision that excluded Republican politicians from participating in the Labor Day parade in Wausau.

WSAW-TV says Radtke released a statement Wednesday which said the Labor Council didn’t want community groups and school bands affected, so Republicans will be allowed in the parade.

William Amos on August 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM

The mob, although detestable, had more integrity in their pinky rings than these folks have in their whole bodies. And that is saying something.

VegasRick on August 31, 2011 at 11:22 AM

The mob had an idea of which businesses could be bled over the long term for things like no-show jobs and which ones could be “bust-outs” in which they stole everything not nailed down and then torched it for the insurance payout.

The Dems think that they can just keep doing “bust-outs” and that the rest of us will keep putting up with it.

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

If a company has a number of micro unions to deal with and one goes on strike, all work would stop because the other members would refuse to cross the picket line. The business would have to give in to their demands or face going out of business. Worse yet, they could just ove to China. Thanks go out to the nlrb and Zero once again.

Kissmygrits on August 31, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I saw a vid on ABC locally about the CA grocery strike vote. There were two boxes at the union hall: one for the strike and one against. Each member had to walk by union officials at the boxes as they dropped their ballot into the appropriate box. Of course, the goons knew who voted against the strike!

It’s not card check, but it’s just as effective.

PattyJ on August 31, 2011 at 11:33 AM

I believe Obama knows his days are numbered, and I’ve said it before. He’s going to kick things into overdrive, to get as much of his destructive agenda in place!!!

capejasmine on August 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM

If a company has a number of micro unions to deal with and one goes on strike, all work would stop because the other members would refuse to cross the picket line. The business would have to give in to their demands or face going out of business.

Pretty much.

My mom has plenty of stories from growing up in a union household that turn my stomach, such as having to go with her dad to job sites to pick up his tools so that striking Teamsters wouldn’t beat him up for crossing the picket line.

My personal favorite is the one about the guy up the street whose house was firebombed because his brother testified against Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters thought he was hiding out there.

teke184 on August 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM

“If they don’t come up with loan modifications and keep people in their homes that they’ve worked so hard for, we’re going to tax them out of business,” said Waters.

This kind of idiocy is what is destroying the country. This incredibly stupid woman keeps getting voted back into office by a constituency that is even more ignorant and economically illiterate than she is.

AZCoyote on August 31, 2011 at 11:38 AM

This kind of idiocy is what is destroying the country. This incredibly stupid woman keeps getting voted back into office by a constituency that is even more ignorant and economically illiterate than she is.

AZCoyote on August 31, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Fo’ Shizzle. That’s all you need to know.

VegasRick on August 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM

To think, unions used to have to rely on organized crime to get their way.

Now, the NRLB does the heavy lifting for them.

Democrats are so awesome organized crime.

BuckeyeSam on August 31, 2011 at 11:15 AM

FIFY!

TugboatPhil on August 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

The plug needs to be pulled on the NLRB. It has become a joke, a bad joke. What Obama is not getting passed through Congress he is getting passed through regulation and governmental boards such as these.

SC.Charlie on August 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM

What authority does the NRLB have to issue these edicts? And can an incoming President stack the board with anti-union people who can then summarily overturn these decisions?

Jay Mac on August 31, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Wagner has to go; it is legislation that was maybe appropriate for the 1930′s, but is no longer.

slickwillie2001 on August 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Why does this exist?

MassVictim on August 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I’m wondering the same thing. Why are these unelected ‘boards’ and committees making all the rules we have to live by? More important, why are we letting them? What the he*l happened to us? Ughh…

pannw on August 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Remember the eastern European union walkouts, strikes?

If you went to the old Soviet Union you better be careful how you walked up hotel and apartment stairs, they were crooked, uneven, different heights, the nobody gave a crap about how they made anything, the sinks just hung off the pipes, the door jams would have huge gaps, pride, quality? Unions guarantee mediocrity, or worse.

Speakup on August 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM

NLRB = Overseas Jobs Development Agency

grahsco on August 31, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Sherk points out that multiple micro unions within a company also increase the cost of business operations because they require employers to negotiate multiple collective bargaining agreements.

Indeed. Remember the fiasco in 2009 at the Boston Globe? Seven different unions to deal with. Some unions represented only 200+ Globe employees.

Owen Glendower on August 31, 2011 at 1:42 PM

This is another step in Obama’s plan to “fundamentally change the Nation” I find it strange that Africa has more Countries in total Chaos than any other continent. Is Obama trying to make us more like his home in Kenya? We have too many organization with to many bureaucrats who have too much power. It i9s time to put the elected back running the country them maybe they will be busty enough they won’t have time to dream up as many stupid laws.

old war horse on August 31, 2011 at 1:42 PM

To think, unions used to have to rely on organized crime to get their way.

Now, the NRLB does the heavy lifting for them.

Democrats are so awesome.

/

BuckeyeSam on August 31, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Democrats are organized crime.

Ward Cleaver on August 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Organized crime tends to thrive in Democratic-held, high-union areas. Probably just coincidence.

I wonder how much of the country is getting really close to “heck with it” mode? I mean, at some point, it’s too frustrating to bother trying to do business (aka, create jobs).

Judging by the amount of money businesses are holding and not investing, maybe a lot of the country.

hawksruleva on August 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM

This is another step in Obama’s plan to “fundamentally change the Nation” I find it strange that Africa has more Countries in total Chaos than any other continent. Is Obama trying to make us more like his home in Kenya? We have too many organization with to many bureaucrats who have too much power. It i9s time to put the elected back running the country them maybe they will be busty enough they won’t have time to dream up as many stupid laws.

old war horse on August 31, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Obama’s not from Kenya, though his father is. He’s from Hawaii by way of Iowa.

What you’re saying is like me saying I’m trying to recreate the Third Reich because my grandparents were German.

hawksruleva on August 31, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Make hay while the sun shines, or in the case of this administration, make mayhem before the voters get a say.

curved space on August 31, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Obama is for the destruction of jobs. His plan is proceeding, as planned.

He is very successful in implementing his Utopian nightmare.

Elect him again and deserve what’s coming, along with yer progeny.

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Good piece, Tina. No unelected body should be making these decisions in the first place. One of many things in big government that need rejection, rollback, elimination.

J.E. Dyer on August 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I have to admit, I don’t know who the heck the NLRB is. What is it with all of these freaking committees that seem to be running America suddenly? It’s like mini commie committee dictators or something. Sitting on their arses making edicts.
How the heck can 4 stinking people just make rulings that effect all of America?
2012 cannot come soon enough. I am counting the freaking minutes!

JellyToast on August 31, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Um, err, “can monopolize labor”.
Yikes.

Count to 10 on August 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

And here I thought “canopolize” was a whole new cool work I just wasn’t hep to yet. Maybe having something to do with canibalizing!

Alana on August 31, 2011 at 10:09 PM

oh dear. *word* I meant *word*.

Alana on August 31, 2011 at 10:09 PM