President Obama Gives Workers An Easier Way To Unionize

A major reform which has long been sought by labor unions and fiercely hated by corporations has been unveiled by federal officials in an attempt to streamline and simplify the union election process. Thanks Obama! But mostly give thanks to the National Labor Relations Board, from whom the rules are issued by.

The new reform will include limits to some of the litigation that can precede a union election, which will make it harder for groups or individuals to stall or drag out the process. It will also allow unions to file election petitions via email, and they will now require employers to provide the unions with the email addresses and phone numbers of workers who are eligible to vote. Not surprisingly, big business employers who are vehemently opposed to the reform, instead favor the older, slower election process, as it gives them more time to coerce and intimidate union employees into not unionizing.

Basically the reforms, according to the Board, would “modernize” union procedures and allow them to be “more effectively administered” based on the laws regarding collective bargaining.

The new reforms will go into effect on April 14, 2015.

Businesses have tried to pull the corporate personhood argument, saying that the reforms would infringe on their “free speech rights” and lead to “ambush” or “quickie” elections which would undermine them. So while our unions are dying and corporations are running the show in Congress now more than ever, that very same Congress and the red-state governors are hell-bent on destroying the unions altogether. There are over  11 million Americans who are considered the working poor, who can’t even afford food for their families, and the only chances of receiving livable wages are being crushed. But with this new reform, hopefully it will be a little easier for them to get representation.

Not surprisingly, the reforms issued by the Board were completely along party lines. The rules were approved by the board’s three liberal members, all appointed by President Obama, while its two conservative members dissented.

In a statement on Friday, Mark Gaston Pearce, the Labor Board’s chairman, said that he was “heartened” that the board is enacting the amendments. “Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties,” he said. “With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.”

“The modest but important reforms to the representation election process announced today by the National Labor Relations Board will help reduce delay in the process and make it easier for workers to vote on forming a union in a timely manner,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, said in a statement.

However, a representative of big business, the National Retail Federation, and Republicans in Congress (who have already held hearings regarding the reforms) plan to take “both a legal and legislative strategy” to block the rules from going into effect. The Federation has called calling them “the latest attempt by the Obama Administration to aid their allies in Big Labor at the expense of employers and employees.”