Small-business owners in our state are struggling: struggling to stay afloat in a lagging economy; struggling to plan for a health care law that will take more money away from their business; struggling with regulations from Washington, D.C., that make running a business second in line to understanding compliance; struggling with a tax burden that is unfair and unjust.
And now, word comes from Washington, D.C., via the National Labor Relations Board, that may soon force small-business owners to struggle to maintain the connection to their employees that was once previously enjoyed.
The NLRB has issued a new rule to satisfy the hunger of Big Labor, which uses the once non-partisan agency as a megaphone for unionization. The NLRB has issued a rule, deemed as the “ambush” election rule, in order to quickly add uninformed employees to their union rosters.
The rule drastically reduces the amount of time an employer has to learn of and respond to union organization from petition-filing to election from the current average 38 days to as few as 20 days or less. This dramatically shortened time period means that small-business owners will struggle to find their own counsel who can accurately inform their employees of the many pitfalls of unionization. Simply put, labor bosses are the only winners in this situation, not the employers and not the employees.
Unfortunately for small business, the Big Labor ambush rule will hurt them the most. Small employers typically lack labor relations expertise and in-house legal departments, meaning that they are essentially walking into this unfair unionization fight with their hands tied behind their backs.
Fortunately, small business has one last chance to win this fight against the latest labor boss push. Members of the United States Senate, led by Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., are helping to untie small business’ hands by introducing legislation that would nullify the ambush rule and make it go away. A simple majority vote is all that is needed to protect the connection that small-business owners have with their employees.
The choice of whether to vote to nullify this rule and stand with small business should be an easy one for our state’s U.S. senators. They should cast their votes against the NLRB ambush rule. The right to unionize should be fair, it should be because employees are accurately informed of both the pros and cons of joining a union and what that means for their employer, and it should be a choice that is made by each individual employee within a time period that allows for education and reflection — not by sneaky or intimidating tactics.
After all, they say that being a part of a union is being a part of a “brotherhood” or family, so why the need to trick or bully someone into joining the cause?
The NLRB ambush election rule is just that, an ambush. Join the National Federation of Independent Business in urging Montana U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester to vote this labor boss rule down, before it’s too late.
(Riley Johnson is Montana state director for the National Federation of Independent Business)