NLRB Changes Needed

  • Below is Washington Times in article and my thoughts as to what is needed:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/9/the-nlrbs-anti-jobs-plan/?page=2

  • As a labor lawyer who practices before the NLRB on a regular basis I can tell you that this is one of the most bias government agencies that exist.  From the unreviewable discretion of the General Counsel to prosecute cases, to the Administrative Law Judges who hear these cases and consistently rule in favor of the General Counsel, to the employees who work for the agency some of whom have in the past referred to lawyers like myself as “management pigs” makes this agency a VERY pro-union operation.  But you cannot blame the agency, the General Counsel and his Regional Directors or the employees who work there.Congress in the 1930’s passed the National Labor Relations Act with the specific agenda of helping unions organize companies.  Although the statute was amended in 1948 to make it “more balanced” under the Taft-Hartley amendments, the simple fact is that Congress did not go far enough.

    Repeal of the statute is what should happen.  Assuming that this is not possible, then MAJOR changes need to be made.  Here is MY LIST for Congress to consider:

  • First is to abolish the trials by the Administrative Law Judges.  All trials should be before Federal Magistrates in Federal Court.  Appeals of these decisions could then go to the NLRB Board for review to determine if the decisions comport with Federal Labor Policy set by the NLRB.  This one change would remove the bias out of the legal trials and be a real deterrent to the POWER of the General Counsel to issue Complaints knowing they have a 90% chance of winning “credibility” issues before these Administrative Law Judges and, therefore, winning the case.
  • Second is that decertification elections (elections to throw the union out filed by the employees who work there) should not be allowed to be “blocked” by a simple unfair labor practice charge being filed by a Union that costs the Union a total of a postage stamp.  I have seen decertification petitions delayed for YEARS as the Union filed one unfair labor practice charge after another, each requiring an investigation, and each “blocking” the election to decertify the Union.
  • Third is that Unions should not be allowed to use “Requests for Information” during negotiations to harass the Company.  I have seen small companies in negotiations have to produce over 10 THOUSAND documents in response to one union request after another being used by the Union as nothing but pure harassment.  The design on the Union’s part is to cost the Company MONEY.  There should be a rule that Companies must only turn over documents to the Union where the Union can establish by CLEAR and CONVINCING evidence that without the information the Union cannot make any proposals to the Company on the matter.  There should be a limit as to the number of document requests the Union can make and if the Union goes over that number, the Company is not required to respond. 
  • Fourth is that there should be a rule that the negotiations go for no longer than 6 months and after 6 months, if there is no agreement, then the Company is free to unilaterally implement its last and final offer made no later than 5 months after negotiations start.  I have seen negotiations go on for YEARS as the Union trying to avoid “impasse” making one proposal after another as small as one penny changes.

    These are just a handful of needed reforms.

    Ron Mason, Mason Law Firm, Dublin Ohio

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One Response

  1. Excellent article.

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