Letter of Support: Sen. DeMint's Bill to Stop the NLRB's "Quickie" Elections, S. 1425

July 28, 2011 J

Dear Senator DeMint,

On behalf of more than 1.7 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I applaud your recent introduction of S. 1425, the Fair Representation in Elections Act. Your legislation would prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or “the Board”) from implementing “quickie” elections that limit employer’s right to free speech and workers’ rights to receive relevant information in union organizing campaigns.

Under current law, if a union wants to organize employees for the purposes of collective bargaining, they must hold an election refereed by the NLRB. Ninety-five percent of union elections are held within 56 days after a petition is filed, an eminently reasonable timeframe. Nevertheless, in June the Board proposed changes to current procedures that would accelerate that process, move many important administrative issues and legal challenges (including questions like “who is allowed to vote?”) to after the election, and shorten the time from petition to election to as little as 10 days.

Even though current procedures function smoothly in the vast majority of cases the Board claims changes are necessary. Why? Dissenting Board Member Brian Hayes has the best guess as to the motive: “Make no mistake, the principal purpose for this radical manipulation of our [union] election process is to minimize, or rather, to effectively eviscerate an employer’s legitimate opportunity to express its views about collective bargaining.”

When given time to consider all of the arguments, including those from their employer, workers frequently reject union organizing campaigns. They do so because they realize collective bargaining is bad for business, rarely delivers on its promises, and does not advance workers’ interests effectively. President Obama’s NLRB appointees can’t stomach this development, so now they’re changing the rules of the game in favor of their Big Labor allies.

Streamlining regulatory procedures, eliminating frivolous litigation, and utilizing modern information technology for official communication are all laudable goals. But reform should never come at the expense of businesses’ ability to engage in constitutionally-protected free speech and debate or undermine their ability to resolve legitimate legal concerns in impartial proceedings. Using these updates as a ruse to rush through labor elections is completely unacceptable.

Your bill recognizes this bad policy change and immediately stops the NLRB in its tracks. It ensures businesses’ due process rights are protected, allowing employers to raise important legal concerns prior to the election, just as they have in the past. It sets a minimum of 40 days between petition and election to give employers plenty of time to respond to union claims, and plenty of time for workers to formulate an opinion and make an informed choice. Your bill also guarantees a review of post-hearing appeals, which the NLRB seeks to do away with in many cases.

Furthermore, the NLRB wants to give union representatives access to workers’ personal information like e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Your bill rightly corrects this ugly flaw and prevents an officially-sanctioned invasion of workers’ privacy.

Ensuring unions have access to workers and protecting workers’ rights is the NLRB’s proper role. However, unionizing workplaces involves tradeoffs. It lowers business efficiency and job creation; employers have a right to share that side of the story in union organizing campaigns.

Americans for Prosperity is proud to support S. 1425, the Fair Representation in Elections Act. I urge your colleagues to support its passage, and I look forward to working with you in the future.


James Valvo
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

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