New rules will lead to workplace ambush elections
Should workers and employers have only seven to 10 days notice before they face a unionization election? Apparently, that's the union boss standard being forced on Montana's workplaces. If these so-called "ambush elections" become enshrined in federal labor regulations, we'll see a steady rise in forced unionization and the discord and disharmony such activity brings to our workplaces.
No one disputes the right of employees to freely join a union and collectively bargain for their rights. But joining a union is a big decision — and it's one that a worker shouldn't be forced or rushed into. Employees need time to carefully balance the pros and cons of unionization and the small businesses that employ them need time to educate workers and prepare for the legal issues that unionization brings.
Thankfully, there is an effort in Congress to stop these regulations from hurting workers and employers. Sen. Mike Enzi, from our neighboring state of Wyoming, has sponsored a resolution that would roll back the unfair rulings from Obama's National Labor Relations Board. Enzi's Senate Joint Resolution 36 is a resolution under the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to nullify certain regulations that are just plain wrong. It's the ultimate check on an out-of-balance bureaucracy like the NLRB.
Right now, roughly 92 percent of unionization elections take place within 56 days. That's just under two months: a good amount of time for employees to come to an informed decision. That's also an adequate period so employers can do what they need to do to prepare for what could be a huge change in the way they do business.
There's nothing wrong with the current rules governing unionization elections. Almost all elections are completed in less than two months. So why the rush to change the regulations and dramatically speed up the process?
The reason Big Labor is pushing for a change is that they have an advantage if unionization elections are sprung on workers and employers. With less time for the workers and small businesses to get their view across — including less time for employers to talk to legal counsel — Big Labor will win more elections. It's a backdoor attempt to bully more workers into doing the bid of union bosses when they don't want to.
Since the NLRB is staffed with union cronies, what union bosses want union bosses usually get from this federal regulatory agency. Last year the NLRB proposed regulations that would force ambush election onto our workplaces.
It's important that every member of Congress who believes in workforce fairness support Enzi's resolution. Will Montana's senators stand with the state's workers and small businesses struggling through the economic recovery? Or will they choose the side of Big Labor and union boss lobbyists? They have not yet signed onto S.J. Res. 36, but they still have time to prove just how much they value fair labor laws. For the sake of Montana's economy and our efforts to create more jobs it is imperative that our congressmen sign on to co-sponsor S.J. Res. 36. Montana is in on the brink of major resource development that could greatly strengthen our position as an economic force, but not if big labor shuts us down. Please join me in urging our congressmen to join our neighboring state in supporting our small business not big labor unions.
(Rep. Christy Clark, R-Choteau, represents House District 17 in north-central Montana. She is a member of the House Business and Labor Committee.)