The National Labor Relations Board saw many victories in its crusade against employee and employer rights under the Obama administration. Big Labor bosses shortened the timeframe for a union election to an unprecedented 11 days, while also forcing businesses to hand over troves of their workers' personal information. This senseless condensed organizing election timeline and data collection effort has led to employee harassment at the hands of union organizers.
While there is hope the NLRB's campaign against employees and employers will cease now that President Trump has named his nominees to the board, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has taken major steps to roll back the agency's misguided actions.
By approving the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2775) and the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776), introduced by Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Tim Walberg, R-Mich., respectively, the committee took the first step toward restoring workers' right to privacy and their freedom to cast informed votes in union elections.
The NLRB's decision to shorten the timeframe for union elections has had significant effects on employees and employers alike. This rule has allowed union organizers to quietly garner support for unionization, then ambush businesses with elections shortly thereafter. This gives employers a mere 11 days to prepare their arguments and inform employees about the consequences of unionization. With businesses having such little time to prepare, workers are unable to hear both sides of the story which affects their ability to make a decision on a matter that will have a dramatic impact on their day-to-day lives.
In addition to weaponizing the union election process under Obama, the NLRB also decided to force employers to hand over vast amounts of workers' personal information. The mandate forces businesses to turn over information that workers disclosed assuming it would not be shared with the government, but used in the event of an emergency. Now, Big Labor bosses gain access to the data without a hint of employee approval and use it to intimidate workers into forming collective bargaining units.
Although it seems hard to believe that the government would force employers to disclose employees' personal information, the decision has real-life, practical implications, including union organizers using employee contact information to ambush workers at their homes and coerce them into signing union authorization cards.
It is clear the NLRB has operated as an outside arm of labor bosses seeking to advance their agenda while stripping away the rights of workers and businesses. Thankfully, the Employee Privacy Protection Act and the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act have been approved in committee and are on their way to a full vote in the House. H.R. 2775 would restore workers' rights to control what personal information about them is shared during union organizing efforts, and H.R. 2776 would ensure a reasonable timeframe for labor elections of 35 days is maintained, allowing all parties involved to gain information and make an informed decision.
Big Labor's expansion of power and influence under the Obama administration is now being reversed on two fronts: new board members whose nominations will soon receive votes in the Senate so they can get to work, and Congress enacting — starting with H.R. 2775 and 2776 — important steps toward restoring the balance of power in America's workplaces, placing power back in the hands of workers and job creators.
Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute.
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.