Sunday, January 02, 2005

Is Bush's NLRB Pro-Employee?

Ok, they won, we lost. They don't like the labor movement or even the whole idea of workers organizing and they will do anything they can to weaken weaken unions ant take away workers' rights, including stacking the National Labor Relations Board (and the courts) with anti-labor zealots. We know it. They know it. That's life.

But it's particularly irritating to read NLRB Chairman Robert Battista characterize a stream of recent anti-labor decions as neither "pro-business or pro-union. I'd like to say they're pro-employee."

Oh, really? Pro employee? Do these actions sound "pro-employee" to you? For example,
  • Denying nonunion employees the right to have a co-worker present when managers call them in for investigative or disciplinary meetings;

  • Making it more difficult for temporary workers to unionize;

  • Making it more difficult for unions to obtain financial information from companies during contract talks, even when the company claims that it is "in distress" and "fighting to stay alive"
  • Ruling that graduate students working as teaching assistants do not have the right to unionize at private universities
And looming in the not-too-distant future is a board hearing on

several cases that question the legitimacy of card checks, one of labor's most
successful tactics in adding members recently. In the procedure, companies agree
to grant union recognition after a majority of workers sign cards saying they
want a union. By agreeing to card checks, companies waive the right to hold a
secret ballot to determine whether workers favor organizing.

Can someone explain to me how any of these Board decisions -- which in the words of AFL-CIO General Counsel Jonathan Hiatt "take away worker rights, deny workers protection in organizing and collective bargaining, and give employers more latitude" -- can be interpreted as "pro-employee?"

So come on guys, if you're going to be anti-union anti-worker, at least don't insult our intelligence.