President Obama has nominated five people to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Two are Republicans. All are waiting for confirmation by the Senate. Let your Senators know these nominees should be confirmed so the NLRB can get back to work.
What Is The NLRB?
The NLRB is the agency that "safeguards employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions."
The NLRB supervises elections to form or decertify unions in the workplace. It investigates charges that employees, unions or employers violated rules over labor practices and rules on the charges. It works to get problems resolved rather than taken to court. And finally, when the NLRB has issued a ruling that is ignored it can take the parties to court.
But if the NLRB is prevented from operating there is no one to make sure that the rules for labor practices are being enforced. This hurts workers and companies.
Background Of The Nomination Battle
Individual workers have little power when up against giant corporations. They can ask for better pay, benefits and working conditions, please, and the giant companies can just say, "you're fired" if they do -- and working people know that. However, when the employees all band together it gives them collective power. It's the old story of how a person can break a single stick, but when all the sticks are bundled together the person is not able to break them. Banding together the workers have the power to get better wages, benefits and working conditions.
The other side of this is that big companies can make a lot of money if they can keep their workers from organizing unions. So they use their money and power to try to stop workers from organizing unions.
Because the economy does better when people have better wages, benefits and working conditions, and because strikes and lawsuits can plug things up, it is the law that workers have the right to form unions and bargain collectively to balance out the immense power of the giant corporations.
This is why the NLRB battle matters. For years elected officials allied with anti-union businesses worked to block the NLRB from operating, so that workers are not able to form unions and existing unions are not able to enforce labor rules. At the same time these elected officials worked to get anti-union judges into the courts and block impartial judges from being confirmed. This enabled the giant companies to make more money -- and working people less money. (Meanwhile as wages dropped nationally the economy slowed and slowed.)