Hundreds of union members and leaders, as well as civil rights and religious leaders, Nov. 15 marched from AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., to National Labor Relations Board headquarters several blocks away, protesting a flurry of late September NLRB rulings that the AFL-CIO says “stack the deck in favor of big business over working men and women.” Addressing a rally at the AFL-CIO prior to the march, Fred Azcarate, director of the federation’s Voice@Work campaign, said that 61 decisions issued by the board in what he called the “September Steamroll” made the “broken election system even worse.”
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” [Azcarate] said, adding, “It’s time to shut the board down and close it for renovation” until there is a balanced NLRB.
Back in 2007, the Northwest Labor Press was also gnashing its teeth at the allegedly ‘anti-union’ rulings of the Bush Board:
Under the leadership of members appointed by President George W. Bush, a federal board that is supposed to uphold union rights in the workplace has been working steadily to weaken those rights. In ruling after ruling, a three-person majority on the five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken away workers right to unionize and made it easier for employers to fight unionization.
To top it off, the NLRB is refusing to negotiate a new contract with a union that represents its own employees.
In mid-November, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win federation held protests at NLRB offices in at least 16 cities, including Portland. And union leaders are counting down to the day when a Democratic president could reverse the balance on the Board.
The AFL-CIO, in its mid-November demonstrations, called on the NLRB to close for renovation until the Board is more balanced.
In a sense, that could actually happen, if Senate Democratic leaders lend a hand. The AFL-CIO is asking Senate leaders to refuse to confirm Bush appointees to the Board, said AFL-CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff.
That would potentially leave just two Board members, a Democrat and a Republican, and the Board would be deadlocked, unable to issue more rulings.
So, as much as unions are quick to bash business proponents of over-reacting to the Obama NLRB’s pro-union bias, it’s pretty easy to point out that, not so long ago, the shoe was on the other foot.
Just a thought:Since the NLRB seems to be a ping-pong ball of partisanship, perhaps it’s time to review whether or not an agency like the NLRB even needs to exist any longer—or whether America’s antiquated labor laws should just be repealed in their entirety*.
[*Waiting for Lefty heads to pop in five…four…three…two…]