House Passes Anti-Union Law Stark Calls ‘Attack’ On Workers, Middle Class

Rep. Pete Stark

Nov. 30, 2011 | The House of Representatives voted along partisan lines to roll back new union organizing rules proposed by the National Labor Relations Board last summer. East Bay Rep. Pete Stark labeled an “attack” on workers and the middle class.

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094) passed Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 235-188.

The bill would provide employer 14 days to file complaints with the NLRB before a union representative can raise objections and ensures union elections did not occur before a minimum of 35 days. It would also allow supervisors to participate in union votes.

Republicans and business interests raised questions over the NLRB’s new rules. They contend the changes were pursued by labor unions to make it more difficult for employers to file repeated appeals. Labor unions contend management abuses the appeal process practice by purposely extending the election period. The longer workers wait to vote, the unions say, typically reduces the chances of potential union members will approve entering or forming bargaining units.

Nevertheless, the NLRB also today approved by a 2-1 vote to move forward with its new rules.

On the floor of the House Wednesday morning, Stark spoke in opposition of the legislation. “This bill is just one more Republican attack on workers and middle class Americans under the guise of protecting the ‘job creators’ we hear so much about from the other side of the aisle,” Stark said.

“Every aspect of this legislation would make it more difficult for workers to form a union,” he added. “It would allow companies to obstruct any attempt by workers to unionize and create infinite avenues for employers to delay elections, including litigation. These delays empower those employers who want to intimidate and harass workers and bring in union-busters. It would also allow employers to gerrymander bargaining units to skew election results in their favor.”

House Republicans point to H.R. 3094 as part of their jobs plan for this year. Opponents, including Stark claim, it has no role in putting people back to work.

The bill heads to the U.S. Senate where its passage is unlikely with the current makeup of the upper house of Congress.