Obama’s NLRB Pushes “Snap Elections” for Union Gain
James Sherk /
Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been aggressively reinterpreting the law to foist unions on workers—whether they want them or not. The Board famously filed charges against Boeing for creating jobs at a nonunion plant in South Carolina. Today the Board announced its most aggressive move yet: snap elections.
Currently the NLRB takes between five and six weeks to conduct unionizing elections. Under the procedures the Board just proposed that time would fall to between 10 and 21 days.
Employers usually have no idea that unions have begun an organizing drive until the union files for an election. By that point the union has spent months selling workers on the value of unionizing. It is during the election campaign that employers get to respond.
Snap elections short-circuit employers’ ability to make their case. If the election takes place in a matter of days workers will base their decision (largely) on information received from the union. This does not benefit workers.
Union organizers do not impartially advocate workers’ best interests. They are salesmen. They get paid to persuade workers to become dues-paying union members. Unions may legally use any number of misleading tactics to win worker support. Some organizers rely on aggressive sales tactics such as “SPIN selling.” SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need payoff–the four emotional states through which organizers lead employees in order to secure a signed union-authorization card. Through it organizers persuade workers that a union will solve their problems at work—whether or not a union could actually help. Unions also train organizers to avoid the potential downsides to unionization, like strike histories or dues increases.
Employees only get the full story when they hear from management. Employers are the ones who explain that unions often do not achieve their promised wage increases but always take 1-2 percent of wages in dues. Employers point out patterns of union corruption and clauses in union constitutions that levy stiff fines against workers who stray from union rules. Employers tell workers what the union organizers do not.
Unions want to stop that from happening. They want workers to hear a one-sided sales pitch and then vote, with as little time as possible to change their minds. That will do wonders for union membership, but hardly serves workers’ interests. Workers need time to hear from management, and to discuss the consequences of organizing with one another.
Workers’ deserve the right to hear from both sides and have time for reflection. The NLRB’s proposed rule directly attacks their right to make an informed choice. It is the latest example of the Administration putting unions’ institutional interests above the rights of workers.
Congress should step up for workers’ rights. When Congress funds the NLRB this year it should include a rider preventing the agency from spending any money to conduct elections in anything less than five weeks. Employees have the right to an informed choice.