The CWA News | Republican Senators Have a Plan to Cripple the NLRB

Volume 74, Issue #3 | Fall 2014

Repubican Senators Have a Plan to Cripple the NLRB - CWA News Fall 2014CWA led the fight to get a fully functioning NLRB and now, for the first time in more than a decade, we have a fully-functioning, five-member Board. We have seen results, including the CNN decision after 11 years of delay, and other decisions. It’s not really a surprise that Big Business and its Republican allies can’t stand the fact that the NLRB is functioning and that workers again have some path to workplace justice. After just six months of work by the five-member Board, some big name Republican Senators are proposing legislation to change the board’s composition and authority and render it useless.

Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate minority leader, and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) want to increase the size of the Board from five members to six, with three Democrats and three Republicans. They also would require that four members agree to render any decision. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see through this proposal. Clearly, it’s intended to paralyze the board and block any pro-worker decisions.

That means unfair labor practices and illegal management tactics, like firing workers who show support for union representation, would never be resolved.

And that’s just how McConnell and Alexander want it.

CWA President Larry Cohen said Alexander’s plan to “change the NLRB from an advocate to an umpire” is absurd. “No regulatory agency in this country operates like that,” Cohen said.

“Apparently these Senators never read the preamble to the National Labor Relations Act,” he continued. “The preamble clearly states that the purpose of the Act is to promote collective bargaining. The bipartisan drafters of the law, and 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 and the outcomes during its early decades.”