“The Trump NLRB takes this moment to publish a rule that will make it harder both for workers to unionize and to keep unions they have. Shameful does not even begin to describe this.”
The National Labor Relations Board finalized a rule this week that critics warn could make unionizing “nearly impossible for workers” at a moment when employees across the nation are fighting for stronger protections against the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed rule change from the board—which is controlled by three appointees of President Donald Trump—was published in the Federal Register on April 1. The new rule would eliminate the NLRB’s “blocking charge policy,” which permits the delay of union election results if the employer is accused of unlawful coercion or other unfair labor practices.
“The board is effectively sealing off any viable path to unionization at a time when workers need a voice on the job more than ever.”
—Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO
The proposal would also allow employees to file for decertification of a union in as few as 45 days after the union is voluntarily recognized by an employer. Under the new rule, a petition for decertification could be filed if just 30% of employees in a bargaining unit support the move.
Opponents of the new rule said the changes could empower employees to illegally manipulate union election results and allow a minority of workers to decertify a union that a majority of workers voted to form.
The rule is set to take effect on May 31 after a 60-day public comment period.
Heidi Shierholz, labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), called the rule change “unbelievable.”
“The Trump NLRB takes this moment to publish a rule that will make it harder both for workers to unionize and to keep unions they have,” tweeted Shierholz. “Shameful does not even begin to describe this.”
UNBELIEVABLE. The Trump NLRB takes THIS moment to publish a rule that will make it harder both for workers to unionize and to keep unions they have. Shameful does not even begin to describe this. (For background, here are our comments on the proposed rule https://t.co/lbdCyqKUS6) https://t.co/DQ6zbvc8Gl
— Heidi Shierholz (@hshierholz) March 31, 2020
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement that “the board is effectively sealing off any viable path to unionization at a time when workers need a voice on the job more than ever.”
“Donald Trump’s caustic hostility to collective bargaining has manifested itself in the most anti-worker NLRB in America’s history,” said Trumka. “The labor movement will fight these actions with everything we have.”
The proposed rule comes as grocery store employees and other workers deemed essential amid the coronavirus outbreak are walking off the job and holding “sick outs” to protest unsanitary workplaces and lack of protective gear.
The new rule marks the second time in less than a month that the Trump administration has advanced a union-busting proposal.
Last month, as Common Dreams reported, unions accused Trump of exploiting the coronavirus crisis to attack organized labor after the Federal Labor Relations Authority issued a rule proposal that would allow federal employees to cancel union dues at any time after a year of membership, rather than in the annual 15-day window established under current law.
In a blog post on Tuesday responding to the NLRB proposal, EPI government affairs director Celine McNicholas wrote that “it is unconscionable that the agency responsible for ensuring workers have the right to a voice in the workplace has denied them the ability to exercise these rights.”
“Today and in the coming weeks, many workers will walk off the job over concerns for their health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” McNicholas wrote. “These workers are risking their lives to deliver services that have been deemed essential to our nation.”
“At the very least,” said McNicholas, “we should demand that the federal agency responsible for ensuring these workers have the rights to a union and collective bargaining use our taxpayer dollars to conduct union elections for workers who want representation, as opposed to issuing rules that make it harder for workers to have a voice on the job.”
Shocking videos as Minneapolis burns — after authorities refuse to arrest George Floyd’s killer
Minnesota is experiencing another evening of devastating protests on Thursday after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and US Attorney Erica MacDonald held a press conference where they announced the investigations of George Floyd's killing were continuing, but no arrests had been made.
Here are some of the images from the scene:
Trump mocked for claiming that mail-in voting will ‘end’ the Republican Party: ‘You silly fool’
On Thursday, President Donald Trump proclaimed on Twitter that mail-in voting could "lead to the end of our great Republican Party."
His outburst triggered immediate mockery on social media. Some mimicked the president and responded in all-caps.
Fact check: mail-in voting has been happening in many Republican states for years. In fact Trump and Kellyanne Conway both vote by mail, as does our military.
Car rampage through Colorado protesters compared to Charlottesville attack that killed Heather Heyer
On Thursday, at a protest in Denver, Colorado against the police killing of George Floyd, the driver of a black SUV tried to run down one of the demonstrators, in an incident captured on video.
Nobody appears to have been killed. However, horrified commenters on social media compared the incident to the vehicle-ramming attack in Charlottesville, where a neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd and killed counterprotester Heather Heyer.
Arrest this driver. Attempted murder. This is how Heather Heyer died. https://t.co/pxGmEFDZkC