MN-02 : Businessman Questions Kline’s Claims – Ambush Elections Wreck Havoc

Expanding on Holly Cairns piece on the Senate’s rejection of Republican efforts to changing proposed NLRB procedures, it is appropriate to note the efforts in the House.

John Kline (R-MN-02) as Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee was presented with a companion resolution that matched the Senate’s — HJ Res 103. Chairman Kline was prime sponsor along with 95 other Republicans. Yes, Chairman Kline could have pushed for a vote … but this is an election year, and some Republicans may not want to take a stand.
Instead Chairman Kline used the bully pulpit issuing a press release:

“By giving the green light to the NLRB’s ambush election scheme, Senate Democrats have undermined the workplace rights of workers and employers. The Obama board is determined to pursue radical regulatory changes that would restrict employers’ free speech and workers’ free choice. The board’s proposal would also jeopardize worker privacy, forcing workers to surrender a wealth of personal information to union bosses. There is no end to the NLRB’s anti-worker agenda and it appears there is no end to the Democrats’ allegiance to Big Labor.

“I commend those in the Senate who voted to protect the nation’s workers and employers. As the NLRB continues to promote a culture of union favoritism that undermines the strength of the American workforce, House Republicans are committed to holding the Obama board accountable for its job-destroying agenda.”

So, is the concern for “NLRB’s ambush election” real ?
A quick review of the process reveals tells a different story. First, no contested election can take place until there is notice of a hearing which takes 7 days. Second, once a hearing is held, it takes the Regional Director 14-21 days to issue a decision and direct an election. Another 3 days are needed to notice a hearing. This adds up to 24-31 days under the proposed NLRB rule.
NLRB’s ambush election” … hardly when the election could be contested … as they are now … A University of California study found that workers have to wait an average of 124 days where an employer forces a pre-election hearing.
“NLRB’s ambush election” … hardly !

Chairman Kline’s hyperbole has not been missed on Willie West who is the founder and owner of West Sheet Metal Company in Sterling, Virginia who testified in the House regarding the impact of NLRB regulations on business owners.
Mr. West’s observations are from a business-owner … you know, a job creator … and he offered a critique of Chairman Kline

Rep. John Kline of Minnesota is the latest in a string of lawmakers to introduce legislation that would limit, weaken, or dismantle the NLRB altogether. Earlier this month, lawyers and anti-union spokesmen railed against the NLRB in Congressional hearings, claiming this small agency is killing small businesses and, to use Rep. Kline’s phrase, “wreaking havoc” on the economy.

That simply isn’t true.

Reviewing the NLRB’s decisions this summer, I fail to see a single action that will negatively impact my business. I have strained to see how informing workers of their right to form a union or modernizing the outdated union election process will hurt my business. The connection simply isn’t there. These seemingly minor changes certainly do not create uncertainty for me and they will not affect my ability to create jobs. In fact, if the NLRB standardizes the election process, it seems to me that this will reduce uncertainty and turmoil in the workplace — especially for small businesses.

So here’s what a real small businessman says he needs to succeed: talented and committed workers with a voice on the job.

My workers are an integral part of my business and an important asset to its success. They are my business partners, not a line item on my accounting forms.

My employees are members of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local Union 100 and collective bargaining helps us work together. Despite what you’ve heard, I’m not experiencing any undue burdens because of my union workforce. Quite the opposite—when I hire a union member, I know I’m getting a qualified, well-trained worker who has undergone rigorous and thorough skills training. Their union provides an educational infrastructure that frankly, as a small business owner, I could not offer on my own. Having these skilled workers means my workplace is safer, which lowers costs, makes my business more efficient, and helps raise profits.

As for the witch-hunt of the NLRB, it’s nothing more than theatrics. Working people and middle class families face real problems each day. Rather than acting as Wall Street’s hired bully, Congress needs get back to work creating jobs and serving the people that elected them.

Chairman Kline ignored the advice …. And along with Raymond Cravaack (R-MN-08), Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) and 226 other Republicans (Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06 was absent for the vote) to approve the HR 3094 – Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act.

While the Senate or House resolutions state an objection, Chairman Kline’s Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act changes the rules.

Politically, Chairman Kline may have done the smart thing by not forcing a vote on his resolution HJ 103… but voters need to remember in November who supported HR 3094 and how quickly it would be approved in a Romney Administration.
Mr. Weeks may consider Chairman Kline’s actions as “nothing more than theatrics”, but given another term, theatrics can become reality.