ABA is engaged in a wide variety of legislative and regulatory initiatives. In the recent past, ABA successfully participated in efforts to prevent egregious proposals from becoming law, namely the Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check).
Today ABA is working closely to address major concerns with the National Labor Relations Board’s and Department of Labor’s activist agendas. ABA will continue to be a strong advocate for the industry ensuring that the bakers’ voice is heard regarding labor and workforce issues.
Having failed to pass any major labor reforms in the 111th Congress, unions are pushing the Obama Administration to pass pro-labor initiatives through regulation in 2012. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are moving forward with new rules and cases impacting the baking industry. Key issues of interest are:
NLRB – Ambush Elections Proposal
- Seeks to decrease the median election timeframe from 39 days to 10 to 21 days
- May mandate disclosure of employee contact information, including phone, home address and email
- Restricts timeline for initial hearing and limits Board review
NLRB – Micro Unions
- Allows unions to unionize small cadres of employees that perform similar functions
- Theoretically, this would allow one employee to join a union
NLRB – Notice Posting
- Mandates that employers must post NLRA right to organize in the workplace
- Employers would face a fine if they failed to post the notice, possibly be an unfair labor practice
DOL – Persuader Proposal
- Reduces the ability of employers to utilize counsel in persuading employees to not unionize
- Changes the advice exemption to require any use of legal counsel or consultants during an organizing campaign to report the contracted arrangement
- Employer must report how much is paid to counsel (possibly to both in house and outside counsel), and counsel must report similar information on all clients receiving similar services
ABA is opposed to the NLRB’s ambush election ruling, even though it has been pared back from its original intent. This rule may dramatically decrease the ability for employers to react to unionizing efforts. ABA supports the use of the Congressional Review Act to mitigate the impact of the NLRB’s ambush elections ruling and has been supportive of other legislative actions aimed at reigning in the NLRB.
ABA is opposed to the proposed changes to the persuader rule, although the Administration may hold back from moving forward with this rule as there is wide ranging opposition to its passage.
Congress has also taken action to prevent regulatory overreach. ABA supports both the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (passed the House in December 2011) and the use of the Congressional Review Act to prevent the NLRB from implementing new ambush election regulations.
This issue falls under the ABA Human Resources Committee.
ABA Issue Expert: Cory Martin