Halting Union Attack on Employee Privacy; Labor Board's New Rules Sneak through Unionization Drives

Article excerpt

Byline: Sen. Michael B. Enzi, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

At the turn of the 20th century, the na- tion's unions played an impor- tant role in im- proving labor conditions for hard-working Americans by voicing valid concerns over long hours and unsafe working conditions. Congress responded by creating protective laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. But in the face of steep declines in dues-paying members, labor bosses are relying on their allies at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to provide them with an artificial boost. They seem to believe that if you can't win the game, you change the rules.

Soon union leaders may be able to acquire and use even more personal contact information for employees of targeted businesses with the government's stamp of approval. Under a new NLRB rule, employers will be required to turn over a list of email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, shift hours and work locations for every employee to union organizers within two days. Employees will have no ability to opt-out of being contacted. The NLRB's new chairman has stated repeatedly that he plans to push through this change as quickly as possible.

As if the release of private employee information to labor bosses were not bad enough, the rule will also force employees to make the critical decision about whether or not to form a union in as little as seven to 10 days. The goal of the NLRB's ambush election rule is to keep employees from getting timely information from the employer and other sources. Under the new rules, the NLRB will not even sort out which employees should be included in which bargaining unit until after the union election. This means employees will not even know with whom they will be lumped when they are casting their votes.

In another, concurring twist, a separate NLRB decision will allow labor bosses to organize micro-unions, which are smaller bargaining units that may not represent all similar employees in the workplace. Essentially, labor bosses will cherry-pick the employees who are favorable to the union and force an ambush election. In non-right-to-work states, dissenting employees may be required to pay union dues even if they are forced into the micro-union. Employees who are not in the union will have to deal with a workplace brimming with competing demands, red tape and discord. …