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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.”

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.”

Business Leaders Respond To President Biden’s State of the Union Address

Business leaders warn that the president’s push for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act will exacerbate domestic and global challenges.  

Washington, D.C. – 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 President Biden’s State of the Union address.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“The President’s continued push for Congress to pass the stalled, misguided and divisive Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act undermines his calls for unity and threatens our economy. The so-called “PRO” Act would re-write our nation’s labor laws with the sole purpose of boosting the number of dues paying union members at the expense of workers’ rights, Main Street consumers, entrepreneurs, and small and local businesses. This legislation will also exacerbate the economic challenges our country faces with the supply chain crisis and inflation – problems that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine will continue to complicate in the coming months.

“Now is the time for our government to pursue policies that promote economic stability in the face of these disruptions to the global economy and supply chain. It is not a time to impose radical changes that promise to upend our economy. We currently have a highly competitive job market where employers are offering good wages, signing bonuses, better benefits and more flexible schedules. Rather than dismantling the most pro-worker job market in decades, the government should focus on combatting inflation and alleviating the supply chain crisis, which threaten opportunities for all Americans.

“The push to pass the PRO Act will most certainly backfire on Democrats come November as American workers and their families have time and again rejected the repeated attempts to force them into unions and take away their rights and freedoms. The president should recognize this and redirect his efforts toward truly uniting and empowering Americans through policies that stabilize our economy and support a competitive job market,”

 

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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 before NLRB in Independent Contractor Case

On February 10, 2022, CDW filed an amicus brief in the NLRB’s Atlanta Opera case, in which the Board is considering changing its standard to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Our brief is one of 39 briefs filed in the case, highlighting the importance of (and controversy surrounding) this issue.

In our brief, we highlighted the Board’s two failed attempts to rewrite the standard for determining independent contractor status under the National Labor Relations Act and criticize the Board for “proposing again to disregard judicial authority by reinstating the Board’s discredited FedEx standard, or some version of it.”

We call on the Board to keep in place its 2019 SuperShuttle independent contractor standard, which “correctly explained how the Board’s prior rulings in FedEx I and II fundamentally shifted the independent contractor analysis, for implicit policy-based reasons, to one of economic realities…’, thereby violating the Act and multiple court rulings.” We caution the Board against overruling SuperShuttle, which we explain “would violate the Act and binding judicial precedent, inevitably subjecting the Board to overruling by the courts, and perhaps even judicial sanctions… destabilizing a number of industries represented by the amici, and depriving many independent contractors of their preferred flexible work methods and entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Joining CDW on its brief were the American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Bakers Association, American Trucking Associations, Associated Builders and Contractors, HR Policy Association, Independent Bakers Association, Independent Electrical Contractors, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Federation of Independent Business, and Nation Retail Federation.

Business Leaders Blast Labor Provisions in America COMPETES Act Passed Today in the House

Business leaders say union lobbyists snuck provisions stripping away workers’ right to secret ballots in union elections into House version of America COMPETES Act

Washington, D.C. – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of nearly 500 major business organizations, released the following statement today in response to a last-minute amendment snuck into the House version of the America COMPETES Act. The amendment includes two labor provisions that threaten workers and businesses.

The first is a provision that would require employers receiving certain funds authorized by the bill to bargain with a union based on signed authorization cards. The process—known as “card check”—involves workers “voting” by signing or refusing to sign union authorization cards in front of union organizers and co-workers. This card check process would replace secret ballot elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. This change unnecessarily invites intimidation and fraud to employees’ decisions to join or refrain from joining a union.

The bill also includes a provision that requires employers receiving certain funds to agree to be bound by collective bargaining terms set by an arbitrator if the union and the employer cannot come to agreement on their own. Under the provision, arbitrators, who likely lack business experience, would determine what a business can or cannot afford.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“’Card check’ is anti-worker and anti-American. Congress has no legitimate justification for forcing workers to sign union authorization cards in the presence of their coworkers and union organizers, opening them up to harassment and intimidation from union organizers and eliminating the right to privacy normally provided by secret ballot elections.

“Having an arbitrator set terms of collective bargaining agreements between a union and private sector employer will lead to job loss, bankruptcy, and government bailouts. It also incentivizes unions to propose outrageous terms in hopes the arbitrator will have their back.

“The U.S. Senate should reject these radical anti-worker, privacy-evading and anti-business provisions to protect both workers and employers, especially small business owners, from harassment and intimidation from unions and their cohorts on the NLRB.”

 

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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 Urges Congress to Reject Anti-Worker Policies Snuck into America COMPETES Act

On February 3, CDW sent a letter to the full House of Representatives calling on them to oppose the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521) “due to the last-minute addition of provisions within the Manager’s Amendment that strips employees of their right to a secret ballot in union representation elections and their right to vote on their collective bargaining agreement.”

The Manager’s Amendment included two provisions that infringe on the rights of workers in union organizing drives. One provision strips workers of their right to a secret ballot election in representation elections, needlessly exposing those workers to intimidation, coercion, and harassment. The other provision would force mandatory arbitration on the workforce, depriving workers of the opportunity to vote on their collective bargaining agreements. This is an invitation for bankruptcies, job loss, and government bailouts and could destabilize labor relations by encouraging parties to bargain in bad faith.

As our letter explains, “These provisions do not increase our competitiveness with China, as the America COMPETES Act is intended to do, but will instead undermine it. These provisions will destabilize our economy and disenfranchise workers of their right to vote their conscience.”

Business Leaders Call On NLRB To Oppose Micro-Unions

Group says NLRB should uphold traditional standard for determining appropriate bargaining units to protect job creation and workers’ right to vote and advancement opportunities.

Washington, D.C. – The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 400 major business and trade organizations, released the following statement today after submitting an amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in American Steel Construction, Inc. (Case 07–RC–269162). The group called on the NLRB to reaffirm the traditional standard used to determine the appropriateness of a petitioned-for bargaining unit in a union representation election. The traditional standard, applied in PCC Structurals (2017) and Boeing (2019), protects against disenfranchisement of workers’ right to vote on union representation in the workplace.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“The NLRB is considering whether or not to reinstate an Obama-era standard that allowed unions to create ‘micro-unions’ to effectively gerrymander representation elections in favor of unions.

“As clearly demonstrated in our amicus brief, the NLRB should reaffirm its standards for determining appropriate petitioned-for collective bargaining units as established in the NLRB cases of PCC Structurals and Boeing, which would prevent union organizers from disenfranchising workers who do not want union representation.

“Micro-unions would hurt job creation and economic growth. They greatly limit an employer’s ability to cross train employees and meet ever-changing customer and client demands via flexible staffing as employees would not be able perform work assigned to another unit. Employees in micro-unions also suffer from reduced job opportunities, such as workforce development, promotions and transfers.

“The NLRB should support the rights of all workers, not just pro-union ones, and maintain a level playing field in union elections by reaffirming the traditional standard for determining appropriate petitioned-for collective bargaining units instead of stacking the deck in favor of unions during union elections and limiting job creation and advancement.

 

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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 Slam National Labor Relations Board Decision To Overturn Amazon Union Election Results

NLRB overturning the will of workers who overwhelmingly rejected unionization

Washington, D.C. – 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 the National Labor Relations Board issuing a Decision and Direction of a Second Election and officially overturning the union election results at BHM1.

The following statement is attributable to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“It’s disappointing that the NLRB is continuing to side with Big Labor by setting aside the will of American workers. All workers during the election had months to listen to and weigh both sides and make a decision on their own of what was best for them and their families. Amazon even made it easier and more convenient to vote, but a massive disinformation campaign spread by unions about voting-by-mail, which the union requested, appears to have deceived members of the NLRB.

“Even though workers overwhelmingly rejected forming a union by a two-to-one margin, union bosses will get another chance to deceive, harass, pressure and intimidate workers in Birmingham to boost union ranks. These same union bosses are pushing the PRO Act, which would fundamentally change labor laws on a national scale and enable unions to fix elections to boost union membership at the expense of workers, small and local businesses, entrepreneurs and Main Street consumers.

“The decision to overturn the election is not surprising will be the first step towards taking away workers’ rights and choice.

“It appears the NLRB is already trying to enact the PRO Act by stacking the deck in favor of unions in what could  become the norm as Big Labor attempts to organize workers across the country. With former union employees and pro-union advocates in charge of the NLRB, we can expect decisions like these to become commonplace if the PRO Act is passed into law. This decision should be a clear sign to American workers about what is at stake when their rights are stripped away and their democratic vote is tossed out.”

Click here for more information on the negative impacts of the PRO Act.

 

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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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STUDY: Proposed Labor Provisions In Budget Reconciliation Bill Would Cost U.S. Billions in Tax Revenue Loss And Force Thousands of Businesses to Close or Move Operations and Jobs Overseas

Business leaders also said the report shows that the revenue produced by increased Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) fines would be vastly offset by the reduced economic activity it causes.

Washington, D.C. – A new study conducted by George Washington University Adjunct Professor of Economics Diana Furchtgott-Roth found that the provisions in the U.S. House budget reconciliation bill creating new penalties under federal labor laws could put thousands of U.S. employers out of business and result in a $33 billion revenue loss in the franchise industry alone and a significant reduction in the federal government’s tax base due to companies moving operations off shore. The labor provisions, which are politically driven and constitute fundamental change to 85-year old statutory framework of the National Labor Relations Act, were tucked into the massive reconciliation bill as organized labor’s number one legislative priority, the Protecting Right to Organize (PRO) Act, stalled.

Key findings of the study:

  • Imposing new civil penalties of $50,000 to $100,000 would not gain $39 million over 10 years but would lose revenue, because some employers would move offshore, and others would become less productive and/or hire fewer workers, resulting in a loss of Federal, State, and Social Security tax revenue from the erosion of the tax base and from lower corporate profits and income levels.
  • The average franchise would lose up to $142,000 in profits if the employees of a franchisee were required to be employed by a unionized franchisor, affecting 233,000 small business franchise owners across the country.
  • Corporate tax losses for franchised businesses would range from $360 million to $2.1 billion annually.
  • Federal, State, and Social Security losses in tax revenue for franchised businesses would range from $2 billion to $6 billion.
  • This reduced economic activity and commensurate decline in tax revenues would surpass the $39 million CBO estimate over 10 years of revenue generated from increased civil penalties for ULPs.
  • The provision would disproportionately disadvantage small businesses, who may make more unintentional errors because they do not have the human resources departments or the legal expertise of larger corporations – putting tens of thousands of small businesses at risk.

Kristen Swearingen, Chair of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 600 major business organizations, said the report illustrates how the proposed increase in fines would hinder the nation’s economic recovery and potentially put thousands of small businesses out of business, especially with unions now in control of the National Labor Relations Board.

“This report shows that the poorly-vetted and radical changes to labor laws come with a big cost and would cripple small businesses, shrink the U.S. tax base and derail our country’s fragile economic recovery. With former union employees now controlling the NLRB and deciding who gets fined, we could see a massive wave of businesses closing or moving their operations and jobs overseas,” stated Swearingen.

Swearingen said the fines would cause significant economic impact on the franchising industry alone.

“An average franchise owner profits $433,000 annually, so a few of these fines would wipe them out. These fines also disincentivize entrepreneurs from starting a franchise in the first place. Bottomline, these fines are expected to wipe out up to $33 billion in revenue for franchisers and put the 233,000 small business franchise owners at risk of shutting down for good, negating any benefit of the increased fines.”

Swearingen went on to say that these fines will cause further economic damage and hurt workers by forcing companies to move operations and jobs offshore.

“In the end, it will be American workers and consumers that will pay the price for these increased and unnecessary fines,” said Swearingen. “Manufacturing and service companies, which often use union labor, will be forced to consider moving their operations outside of the U.S. to avoid these fines and drastic changes to established labor law. The ones that do stay may choose to operate in a diminished capacity in order to avoid the fines for small and technical infractions. These fines will result in untold economic damage from reduced economic activity from businesses across the U.S.”

 

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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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