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CDW Sends Letter to House Opposing Radical Labor Provisions in NDAA

On July 11, CDW sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives urging them to oppose an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 that “would eliminate workers’ right to secret ballots in union representation elections, infringing on their right to privacy and their right to vote their conscience on whether or not they want to be represented by a union.”

As we explain in our letter, Amendment 237 would require employers who contract or subcontract with the Department of Defense to recognize a labor organization as the representative of their contracting workforce if the union presents signed authorization cards from a majority of the workers eligible to participate in the petitioned-for bargaining unit. Passing this amendment would replace secret ballot elections with card check, a fundamentally flawed system that needlessly exposes workers to coercion, harassment, and intimidation and has been criticized by the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, the NLRB, and even several unions.

The letter states, “Card check is an unreliable method for determining workers’ wishes on union representation, and it exposes them to potential coercion, intimidation, and harassment by individuals attempting to influence their vote. The secret ballot, NLRB-supervised election process provides necessary safeguards to protect workers and their right to freely vote their conscience.”

CDW urges the House to oppose this amendment as well as two other amendments that would implement labor restrictions and do not belong in this bill – Amendment 403 and 809.

CDW Issues Report on the Dangers of Online Voting in Union Representation Elections

Washington, DC – On July 12, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, composed of more than 400 major business and trade organizations, released a new report, Online Voting in Union Representation Elections: The Latest Attempt to Eliminate Workers’ Right to Secret Ballots, which highlights the dangers of implementing online voting in union representation elections and calls on Congress to reject a provision in the House appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023, that requires that the NLRB to implement a system to conduct union representation elections electronically.

The following statement can be attributed to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“The provision included in the Labor HHS appropriations bill is the latest attempt in a two-decade-long effort by unions and their allies in government to eliminate secret ballots in union representation elections. Secret ballots are a fundamental right in any democracy and provide voters with the ability to vote their conscience without influence from others, but if unions get their way and this provision is passed into law, workers will be forced to vote for or against union representation with union organizers and coworkers standing over their shoulders, pressuring them to support the union. Eliminating secret ballots would be a gross violation of workers’ privacy.

“Electronic voting is a system ripe for coercion, intimidation, and harassment. It violates workers’ privacy and makes it impossible for the NLRB to safeguard the election. Moreover, as the report notes, the National Mediation Board, several states, and various foreign countries have all shelved online voting programs because of costs and cybersecurity concerns. For these reasons, the Supreme Court, other federal courts, and the NLRB itself have all recognized that secret ballots are the best method for determining the will of the workers.

“CDW’s new report highlights the dangers of implementing electronic voting and how unsuitable electronic voting would be for union representation elections. Our report proves secret ballot elections are the best method for protecting workers’ freedom to join or refrain from joining a union.”

CDW Submits Letter to Senate HELP before EEOC Nomination Hearing

Washington, DC – On May 9, CDW sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to  “express our concerns with the current tension between federal anti-discrimination laws and federal labor relations laws as implemented by the NLRB and its General Counsel.”

On Tuesday, May 10, the HELP Committee will be hearing from President Biden’s nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Kalpana Kotagal, and CDW believes Ms. Kotagal and the HELP Committee members should address the concerning enforcement trend from the NLRB that creates a conflict between federal labor relations law and federal anti-discrimination laws, forcing employers to choose which laws to comply with.

As our letter explains, “Enforcement efforts by [NLRB] General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo are creating an impossible situation for the employer community where they will be forced to choose between compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws or federal labor relations laws, exposing employers to significant liability and employees to unsafe, hostile workplaces.”

The letter explains, “Federal agencies should not deliberately create conflicts between federal laws and should not put employers in the impossible position of choosing which laws to comply with in a given situation. Additionally, union organizers and their supporters should not have the right to create unsafe and hostile workplaces. Employees are entitled to safe work environments free from harassment and abuse. The EEOC and NLRB should work together to ensure employers understand their obligations under their respective laws and employees have the ability to collectively bargain without violating the rights and well-being of others.”

CDW Submits Motion Requesting NLRB Solicit Amicus Briefs in Cemex

Washington, DC – On May 3, CDW submitted a motion requesting the NLRB solicit amicus briefs in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC in response to the General Counsel’s request that the Board overrule multiple longstanding and significant Board precedents in the case.

As we explain in our motion, “CDW urges the Board not to seriously entertain the General Counsel’s inappropriate request to overrule these important precedents in the present proceeding, which would threaten the institutional integrity of the Board and violate the statutory mandate to promote stability in labor relations. If the Board intends to consider the General Counsel’s radical proposals in deciding the present case, however, then it should gather input from interested stakeholders by inviting amicus briefs, as it did in the recent cases cited [in the motion]. The NLRB should not move forward with the proposed changes before hearing from the stakeholders who will be directly and significantly impacted by them.”

We also requested the Board provide additional time and allow amici to submit longer briefs than normal due to “the sheer number of cases the General Counsel is calling on the Board to overturn and the breadth of the issues discussed in the General Counsel’s brief.”

NLRB General Counsel Wants to Throw out Decades of Labor Law Precedent to Tip Scales in Favor of Unions

Washington, DC – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 500 major business and trade organizations, released the following statement today in response to the NLRB’s Council of the General Counsel’s brief in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific LLC, in which the CGC calls on the Board to overturn five significant cases and standards in order to tip the scales in favor of unions.  Most troubling of the changes proposed by the CGC is replacing secret ballots as the preferred method for determining whether employees want union representation with “authorization cards,” which are not private and are signed in front of coworkers and union organizers.

The following statement can be attributed to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“General Counsel Abruzzo is pushing unionization at the expense of employees, who would be forced to cast  “votes” in union representation elections by signing cards in front of union organizers rather than in an NLRB-supervised, secret ballot election. Card check is notoriously vulnerable to fraud and coercion by union organizers who try to force workers to sign the cards with threats and misleading statements about what the cards actually mean. Allowing this back door organizing will only disenfranchise workers of their right to vote on union representation and expose workers to intimidation and harassment.

“Abruzzo is advocating for changes that will ensure unions have a monopoly over the information provided to employees before deciding whether or not they want union representation. This is despite Supreme Court and NLRB precedent protecting free speech rights and the importance of debate. Her efforts should concern anyone interested in protecting privacy, free speech, and due process rights.

“The General Counsel and the NLRB are supposed to be neutral arbiters of the law, but Abruzzo again is demonstrating her complete inability to fulfill that responsibility. The Board should reject her blatantly partisan efforts to tip the scales in favor of unions.”

NLRB Rejects Request for Transparency on Wilcox and Prouty Recusals, Conflicts of Interest

Washington, DC – In February 2022, CDW filed a FOIA request with the NLRB to better understand how the agency came to the conclusion that Members Wilcox and Prouty should not recuse themselves from cases involving their former employer, the SEIU, or the joint employer standard, on which both members previously advocated.

After two months of delays, the NLRB finally handed over documents, including this memorandum from the Designated Agency Ethics Official to Members Wilcox and Prouty outlining their recusal obligations related to cases dealing with the SEIU and the joint employer standard. Unfortunately, the NLRB has chosen to hide their justifications for allowing Members Prouty and Wilcox to participate in these cases by redacting these documents so heavily that they are essentially meaningless and don’t provide any avenue to hold the government accountable.

The NLRB is ignoring their responsibility under the law to allow public oversight over their ethics determinations. Members Wilcox and Prouty’s participation in SEIU and joint employer cases would clearly be – or at the very least create the appearance of – a conflict of interest, but rather than explaining how they came to such a ludicrous conclusion, they’ve decided to keep the public and regulated community in the dark.

CDW SLAMS ALJ DECISION FORCING AMAZON TO REINSTATE EMPLOYEE WHO TARGETED COWORKER WITH SEXUALLY CHARGED AND ABUSIVE LANGUAGE

In bizarre case, NLRB ALJ forces Amazon to rehire an employee who used a bullhorn to call a female coworker a “gutter b*tch,” “ignorant and stupid,” “crack-head a*s,” “crack ho,” and “queen of the swamp” and accuse her of being “high” and on “fentanyl”

Washington, DC – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 500 major business and trade organizations, released the following statement today in response to the ruling issued by a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge forcing Amazon to reinstate a former male employee who shouted degrading obscenities at a female coworker over a bullhorn outside the Staten Island Amazon. A friend of the terminated employee captured the incident on video and posted it on Facebook. The video shows the terminated employee using a bullhorn to call a female coworker a “gutter b*tch,” “ignorant and stupid,” “crack-head a*s,” “crack ho,” and “queen of the swamp” and accuse the female employee of being “high” and on “fentanyl.” The terminated employee noted that posting the video would make the victim “look stupid.”

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“This outrageous decision again demonstrates this administration’s unrelenting efforts to push unionization at all costs – even to the point of excusing sexual harassment and abusive behavior by unions and labor activists. The fired employee’s behavior in this case was indefensible and should not be tolerated in any workplace or in any context.

“The Biden administration is doing everything they can to tip the scales in favor of unions. A few weeks ago, President Biden insinuated he was coming after Amazon, and now federal agencies are contorting the law to excuse unacceptable workplace misconduct committed by unions or their supporters. The Biden administration is sending the wrong message to workers and employers across the nation.

“Rather than protecting harassers, the Biden administration should focus on what it can do to help workers by requiring the Amazon Labor Union to file the disclosure and financial reports it is legally required to share with its members and submit to the Department of Labor.

“The administration should examine why only 58% of the over 8,325 eligible voters participated in the recent election at the Amazon facility and only about 32% (2,654) supported the union. This shockingly low level of voter turnout is not a model for long-term industrial democracy or stability. The Board needs to focus on increasing voter participation and ensure that the decision to enlist a union as an exclusive workplace representative is supported by the majority of employees.”

 

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About The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

CDW is a broad-based coalition of hundreds of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees in various industries across the country concerned with a long-standing effort by some in the labor movement to make radical changes to the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the severely negative impact they would have on employees, employers, and the economy. CDW was originally formed in 2005 in opposition to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – a bill similar to the PRO Act – that would have stripped employees of the right to secret ballots in union representation elections and allowed arbitrators to set contract terms regardless of the consequence to workers or businesses.

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CDW Statement on Results of Union Election at Staten Island Amazon Facility

Union “wins” election with support from less than a third of employees, and NLRB’s inappropriate suit could have tipped the scales in the election. The Board and Congress need to examine further.

Washington, DC – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of hundreds of organizations representing millions of businesses that employ tens of millions of workers nationwide in nearly every industry, released the following statement today in response to the election results at the Amazon warehouse facility in Staten Island, New York, where less than a third of workers supported unionization even after the NLRB tipped the scales in the union’s favor.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“The NLRB should be concerned that less than a third of workers at the Amazon plant who were eligible to vote in this election supported the union. Participation in the election was abysmal. The Board needs to examine why only 58% of the 8,325 eligible voters participated in the election and only about 32% (2,654) supported the union. This is not a model for long-term industrial democracy or stability. The Board needs to work on increasing voter participation and ensure that the decision to enlist a union as an exclusive representative is supported by the majority of employees.

“Congress also needs to investigate the suit filed by the NLRB’s General Counsel a week before the election to force Amazon to reinstate a worker who verbally harassed a female colleague with sexually charged and profane obscenities. The worker was fired for the outrageous and unacceptable behavior nearly two years ago, but General Counsel Abruzzo chose to file suit against the company only a week before voting in this election began. Congress needs to examine why the General Counsel chose to file a suit now. The timing is at best inappropriate and, at worst, suggests an intent to impact the outcome of the election.”

 

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About The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

CDW is a broad-based coalition of hundreds of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees in various industries across the country concerned with a long-standing effort by some in the labor movement to make radical changes to the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the severely negative impact they would have on employees, employers, and the economy. CDW was originally formed in 2005 in opposition to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – a bill similar to the PRO Act – that would have stripped employees of the right to secret ballots in union representation elections and allowed arbitrators to set contract terms regardless of the consequence to workers or businesses.

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Business Leaders Respond to NLRB’s Bizarre Lawsuit to Protect Fired Amazon Employee Who Targeted Coworker with Sexually Charged and Abusive Language

NLRB sues Amazon in federal court in attempt to force the company to rehire an employee who used a bullhorn to call a female coworker a “gutter b*tch,” “ignorant and stupid,” “crack-head a*s,” “crack ho,” and “queen of the swamp” and accuse her of being “high” and on “fentanyl”

Washington, D.C. – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 500 major business and trade organizations, released the following statement today in response to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) suit against Amazon seeking a court order requiring the company to reinstate an employee shown on video shouting degrading obscenities at a female employee over a bullhorn outside the Staten Island Amazon facility. Video shows the terminated employee using a bullhorn to call a female coworker a “gutter b*tch,” “ignorant and stupid,” “crack-head a*s,” “crack ho,” and “queen of the swamp” and accuse the female employee of being “high” and on “fentanyl.”

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen: 

“The Board’s lawsuit showcases the lengths to which the agency will go to defend inexcusable behavior by unions and labor activists. The fired employee engaged in behavior that is unacceptable in any workplace. The Board wants to force this employee back into the workplace simply because he supports a union. That is unfair to his coworkers and sends the wrong message.

“The Board needs to stop contorting the law to unfairly excuse unions or union supporters from unacceptable conduct.”

 

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About The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

CDW is a broad-based coalition of hundreds of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees in various industries across the country concerned with a long-standing effort by some in the labor movement to make radical changes to the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the severely negative impact they would have on employees, employers, and the economy. CDW was originally formed in 2005 in opposition to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – a bill similar to the PRO Act – that would have stripped employees of the right to secret ballots in union representation elections and allowed arbitrators to set contract terms regardless of the consequence to workers or businesses.

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CDW Files Amicus Brief Calling for Preservation of Arbitration Agreements

On March 21, CDW filed an amicus brief in Ralph’s Grocery, a case before the NLRB in which the Board is considering adopting a new standard to determine if confidentiality requirements in mandatory arbitration agreements violate workers’ right to collectively bargain under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). CDW is calling on the Board to adhere to its 2020 Anderson Enterprises decision that “[held] that an arbitration agreement explicitly and prominently assuring employees of their right to file charges with the Board does not interfere with such employee rights under the NLRA.”

In our brief CDW pointed to past Supreme Court precedent (Epic Systems) clearly stating that the NLRB does not have authority to challenge enforcement of arbitration agreements between employers and employees under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). “Any action by the Board to overrule Anderson and impose liability on the employer here would violate the FAA and lead to another confrontation with the Supreme Court.”

Furthermore, “the Board lacks jurisdiction to penalize confidentiality provisions in arbitration agreements covered by the FAA, which do not in any event interfere with employees’ exercise of Section 7 rights.” Such confidentiality provisions govern the procedures used to adjudicate legal claims but do not force employees into confidentiality over the facts underlying a claim. By attempting to regulate adjudicatory procedures and proceedings, the Board “moves outside of its expertise and is entitled to no deference.”