The CWA News | Fighting Back Against the Attack on the NLRB

Volume 74, Issue #4 | Winter 2014

Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), in line to head the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s already on record with his plan to cripple the National Labor Relations Act.

Of course, he isn’t calling it that. Instead, Alexander, with the support of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky., the next Senate majority leader) has introduced an NLRB “Reform” bill that’s anything but reform. In fact it will ensure that the Board can’t function. Alexander’s plan would add a sixth board member to the current five, with a makeup of three Democrats and three Republicans. The bill would require that all decisions be reached by at least four members, pretty much assuring that very few decisions would be reached.

It would restrict the authority of the board’s chief prosecutor and cut the operating budget of the agency if cases weren’t decided in a timely manner, after making it nearly impossible for cases to be resolved.

“The NLRB won’t be able to do anything—and that’s exactly what the Republicans want,” said CWA President Larry Cohen.

“Apparently these Senators never read the preamble to the National Labor Relations Act, which clearly states that the purpose of the Act is to promote collective bargaining. The bipartisan drafters of the law—confirmed by every generation of Republicans except the current leaders— absolutely understood that government needed to be pro-collective bargaining or management interests would trample workers. In the first ten years of the NLRB, 10 million workers achieved collective bargaining rights. Alexander and McConnell are guilty of a total fabrication of what the law says.”

Without a functioning NLRB, the more than 80 million workers who don’t have union representation will have no path at all to workplace justice. Workers who want a union voice will never have justice for the illegal firings and other law violations under the Alexander-McConnell plan.

CWAers will mobilize and fight back against this attack on workers’ rights.