US House Defends Union Secret Ballot

Union members picketing outside the National Labor Relations Board offices in Washington, D.C

Union members picketing outside the National Labor Relations Board offices in Washington, D.C. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. House of Representatives took aim at the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) this past week by voting to prohibit the Obama-run labor board from using any funds to sue any state on the question of secret ballot elections.

The House action was led by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) in response to the NLRB’s litigation against the states of South Dakota and Arizona, two of four states where voters overwhelmingly approved state constitutional amendments protecting workers rights to secret ballot union elections.

The taxpayer funded NLRB legal team jumped into action after the November 2010 election when voters in the states of Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah passed constitutional amendments that stopped union organizers from coercing employees to join.

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Unfortunately, in the world of Obama’s NLRB, it is more concerned with suing states on behalf of its former Big Labor employers than protecting worker’s right to choose without threat of retaliation.

And that is when Representative Jeff Duncan, with the assistance of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), stepped into the fray.  First, Duncan offered legislation that would prohibit the NLRB attorneys from attacking the will of the people, but when the opportunity arose to amend legislation that funds the NLRB, he jumped on it.  His amendment stopping the NLRB’s frivolous attack on the people’s right to secret ballot elections was passed by a vote of 232 – 192, and has been sent on to the Senate as part of the Commerce, State, Justice appropriations bill.

Not surprisingly, the momentum created by the passage of the Duncan amendment restricting the NLRB legal action against the states has generated significant interest in the Senate.  While the road is more difficult in the Democratic Party controlled body, passage of the amendment in the legislation funding the NLRB, forces the issue to be dealt with both on the floor and potentially in a House-Senate conference committee.

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If it accomplishes nothing else, it puts the NLRB on notice that it is in the cross hairs due to extremist actions that it has taken to benefit Obama’s Big Labor political allies.

The House of Representatives is also looking at curtailing the authority of the NLRB to legally take sides in a dispute between organized labor and a business or state through legislation that would strip away the agencies adjudicatory powers.

This legislation, H.R. 2978, by Representative Austin Scott (R-GA), would prevent the NLRB from spending taxpayer dollars to fund lawsuits or serve as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury in employment law cases, instead allowing these cases to go directly to the federal court system to be contested between the two principles.

Scott has worked closely with ALG on the legislation stating, “I don’t think the bill would be where it would be without Americans for Limited Government.   Certainly getting the economy back on track having a smaller, more responsible government is one of the goals of ALG and I can’t thank them enough for their support.   In moving this legislation forward and the knowledge they provided and the information and facts they provided in regard to NLRB and working with us in the language of the bill.”

The Austin Scott legislation has already garnered 61 co-sponsors, and is expected to be considered in the House of Representatives this year.

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Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor. Americans for Limited Government is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.
Rick Manning
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