NLRB Backs Off On Microwave Union Elections

As anticipated by HUMAN EVENTS’ John Gizzi, the National Labor Relations Board did indeed decide to punt on the proposed rules for quickie microwave union elections.  Actually, it might turn out to be more of an on-side kick than a punt, since the NLRB is likely to revisit the issue again, if they can’t satisfy union demands today.

The rule was much desired by union bosses, who have noticed that workers are less likely to organize when they have more time to think it over.  Among other reasons for this, workers can always look at the fiery NLRB apocalypse rained upon the formerly unionized aerospace workers of South Carolina, and realize that as far as union bosses are concerned, the vote to organize is like a banana republic election: one man, one vote, one time.

Fox News reports on this morning’s action at the NLRB, a five-person board with two empty seats, where two guys who used to work directly for the unions spend their time haranguing the one guy who isn’t a union operative for slowing down the Obama Administration’s drive-thru service for its vital Big Labor allies:

The chairman of the National Labor Relations Board has dialed back a proposal that had members of the board on a collision course ahead of a meeting Wednesday. 

The original proposal would speed up and simplify union elections. In protest, the panel’s lone Republican member had threatened to resign — a move that would effectively shut down the board and prevent the vote on union organizing. 

But board Chairman Mark Pearce on Tuesday presented what he described as a “more limited resolution.” He said it would only apply to “the minority of elections which are held up by needless litigation” and other disputes. He said other changes to the election process should stay on the table for future consideration. 

Hmmm.  I wonder who will get to decide what constitutes “needless litigation” that is unreasonably holding up those vital union elections beyond the 10-day window Big Labor wants. 

Is it too much to ask that a full National Labor Relations Board be seated before they set about reshaping the American workplace with job-killing diktats?  As it stands, one of the three members, former AFL-CIO and SEIU lawyer Craig Becker, is a recess appointment whose time runs out at the end of the year.  Judging by all the Christmas trees and giant candy canes sprouting up on my neighborhood lawns, that must be right around the corner.

Those ominous empty seats mean that the lone member of the NLRB who is not a union operative, Brian Hayes, can disable the whole thing by resigning.  Naturally, he’s the one routinely accused of nefarious loyalty to outside interests.  If you think you’ve got a tough job, here’s what Brian Hayes is up against:

Hayes, who has the backing of Republicans in Congress, claims his Democratic colleagues are not giving him enough time to prepare his response on the union-elections proposal. He alleges they initially kept him in the dark about the elections proposal, before offering a “take-it-or-leave-it” deal. Hayes also claims the board is bent on violating the practice of requiring three ‘yes’ votes to overrule precedent. 

“I have substantial doubts about the legal viability of my colleagues’ proposed course of action,” Hayes wrote in a Nov. 18 letter to Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. 

But Democrats and union officials suggest Hayes is being pressured to step down in order to hamstring the board — which is a favorite bogeyman among conservatives, particularly in light of an attempt by a board attorney to stop Boeing from opening a production line at a non-union site in South Carolina. 

It’s not really a “bogeyman” if there really is a monster lurking in the closet, ready to lunge out and chew South Carolina’s jobs off, as soon as she falls asleep.

The full NLRB vote (well, as full as you can get, when only three of the five seats are filled, and one of them has an eviction notice taped to it, while another board member keeps glancing at the exits and seeing South Carolina governor Nikki Haley waving at him from the doorway) is still scheduled for later today. 

Meanwhile, Representative John Kline (R-MN), who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is bringing a bill to the floor today that would pull the plug on microwave union elections, and take matters out of the NLRB’s hands.  Any bill that pushes Barack Obama’s job-killing machinery further away from the American workforce is worth supporting.