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New Unionization Changes Could Harm Manufacturers

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An ongoing push for new unionization policies would be damaging for manufacturers and their workforces, and the NAM is leading the fight against them. NAM Director of Labor and Employment Policy Brian Walsh recently laid out what these efforts are and what they mean for the manufacturing industry.

The background: Recent unionization efforts at major corporations like Starbucks and Amazon have gained headlines across the US. But, according to Walsh, these movements are part of a much broader effort:

  • “Where manufacturers should be really concerned…is the possible changes to union-organizing activity through legislation, such as the PRO Act, or through decisions from the National Labor Relations Board that will change current interpretations of labor law and enact card check nationwide,” said Walsh.

Card check: In case you aren’t familiar with it, card check is an alternative to the secret ballot elections that are required to occur with federal oversight.

  • To begin the unionization process, card check efforts require over 50% of employees to sign a card indicating their interest in forming a union. Card check proposals also jeopardize employees’ right to privately cast their ballots and could lead to less secure union elections, according to Walsh.
  • “The NLRB’s General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, aims to overturn longstanding practices surrounding union elections and card check policies,” added Walsh. “She has also called for overruling prior standards that have given employers the right to speak to their employees on union organizing. This would be devastating for employers.”

PRO Act: “Manufacturers support workers’ federally protected right to collectively bargain, but the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would hurt relationships between employers and employees by allowing unions to access personal employee information in union-organizing drives,” said Walsh.

  • “It is also another way to eliminate the secret ballot by taking away the ability for workers to privately cast their votes in a union election. This makes a worker’s vote known on a physical card for union organizers and their co-workers to see—making them susceptible to pressure campaigns.”

The NAM in action: The NAM is advocating against these policies and has been successful at holding back the PRO Act in the Senate.

  • Most recently, the NAM has been leading a campaign to make sure that card check language is not included in Congress’ final China competition bill.

What’s ahead: “Because of the composition of the NLRB, we expect many cases to be decided against employers,” said Walsh. “This is where the work of the NAM Legal Center is going to be really important in our efforts to beat back union tactics. We will be engaged in NLRB proceedings—and are prepared to go to court when necessary.”

Get involved: To take action on this issue, go here.

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