CDW Blasts HELP Committee for Confirming Wilcox without Hearing, Urges Senate to Reject Nomination

Washington, DC – On July 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passed Gwynne Wilcox’s nomination out of committee without a hearing, ensuring Senators never had an opportunity to question Wilcox about her troubling tenure on the Board, including overturning long-standing precedent and ignoring the stakeholder community.

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

“The Senate HELP Committee has chosen to approve Gwynne Wilcox’s nomination without asking her a single question about the radical policies this Board has pursued over the last two years. Wilcox and the Board are not being held accountable for their pursuit of their own ideological goals at the expense of the Board’s intended mission of remaining a neutral arbiter of federal labor law.

“The Board during Wilcox’s tenure has blatantly ignored multiple federal court decisions as well as concerns from other agencies. They have even abandoned their own long-standing precedent of requesting public input before issuing decisions or rulemakings that make significant policy changes.

“Considering this record, at the very least the Committee should have required Wilcox to come before them and be questioned about the Board’s direction. The Committee should also have required the Biden administration to pair her nomination with a Republican candidate in order to force the Board to abandon its partisan mission and return to common sense policymaking.

“CDW now urges the full Senate to reject Wilcox’s nomination.”

On July 11, CDW sent a letter to the Committee urging them to delay their vote on Wilcox’s nomination, so they can hold a hearing to question her on the actions the Board has taken while she has served and they can force the Biden administration to pair her nomination with a Republican candidate to fill the vacancy left by Republican Board member John Ring in December 2022. Our statement on the letter can be found here.

CDW Urges HELP Committee to Hold Hearing on Wilcox Nomination

Washington, DC – On July 11, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace sent a letter to Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Bernie Sanders to urge him to delay the committee’s vote on the nomination of Gwynne Wilcox to serve another terms on the NLRB in order to review her record, which includes ignoring decisions by the DC Circuit and hyper-partisan policy changes, violating NLRB norms. The committee should also delay their vote until President Biden names a Republican nominee to fill the seat vacated by Republican John Ring in December 2022.

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

“The Senate HELP Committee should immediately delay the vote on Ms. Wilcox’s nomination in order to question her about the Board’s radical swing under the Biden administration. Her record involves blatantly ignoring D.C. Circuit decisions on both independent contractor status as well as the inappropriateness of abusive, racially and sexually charged language in the workplace.

“Wilcox is also working to expand joint employer liability to nearly every contractual relationship across the economy and eliminate secret ballots in union representation elections. Her policies will devastate the economy, especially small businesses, and needlessly expose workers to intimidation, harassment, and coercion while trying to make an informed decision about whether or not union representation in the workplace is right for them.

“During Wilcox’s tenure, the Board has also abandoned long-standing precedent of obtaining public input before making significant policy changes. That is a crucial part of the process that ensures all relevant stakeholders can express their concerns with new interpretations of the NLRA, but Wilcox has guaranteed the public has no means of weighing in with the Board.

“The Committee should not reward her with another term, but require her to answer for these radical actions.”

Board Defies Federal Appeals Court in Decision that Threatens Freelancers, Independent Contractors across Nation

Washington, DC – On June 13, the NLRB issued its decision in The Atlanta Opera, which defies the explicit directions of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and narrows opportunities for independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

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

“In today’s decision, the Board reinstates a test for determining employment status that was explicitly rejected by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The Board’s decision will force workers into work arrangements they do not want – all for the sake of giving unions new potential members. With this decision, the Board has chosen to ignore the concerns raised by the employer and freelance communities, and its actions threaten to destabilize a number of industries and deprive many independent contractors of the flexible work methods and entrepreneurial opportunities they value.

“The Board’s actions are all part of the Biden administration’s war against small businesses and entrepreneurs and will invite confusion and litigation. As we explained in our amicus brief, the NLRB should continue to follow the standard set in SuperShuttle DFW and emphasize the significance of entrepreneurial opportunity when considering a worker’s proper classification.”

CDW Releases White Paper Showing Dangers of Employers Agreeing to Neutrality and Card Check Agreements

Washington, DC – On May 22, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace published a white paper, How Neutrality and Card Check Agreements Harm the American Worker, proving that when employers enter into neutrality and card check agreements with unions attempting to organize their workplaces, employees are denied access to critical information they need to make a fully informed decision about unionization as well as their right to a secret ballot election free of coercion and intimidation.

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

“Neutrality and card check agreements are designed to prevent employees from exercising their right to make a meaningful choice about representation.

“Neutrality agreements silence employers and allow unions to misrepresent the facts and even suppress vital information. This leaves workers without a true understanding of who the union is, how their life will be impacted by unionization, and the actual changes unions can achieve. Employers play a critical role in filling this information gap, but neutrality agreements ensure workers will be left without the full picture before voting on union representation.

“Card check agreements expose workers to coercion, intimidation, and deception. They prevent workers from voting for union representation through an NLRB-supervised, secret ballot election, forcing workers to make their decision in front of union organizers and colleagues. Union intimidation of employees to sign cards is well-documented, and that history should not and cannot be ignored.

“These agreements decimate workers’ rights and should not be applauded or encouraged. Employers who care about their employees’ best interests shouldn’t agree to neutrality or card check agreements but instead should insist on protecting workers’ rights to a full and open debate and secret ballot elections.”

CDW Letter: PRO Act Will Devastate Economy, Hurt Workers

Washington, D.C. – On March 24, CDW sent a letter to members of Congress calling for the rejection of the Protecting the Right to Organize (“PRO”) Act (H.R. 20, S. 567). The bill would “limit workers’ right to secret ballot elections, trample free speech and debate, jeopardize industrial stability, threaten vital supply chains, limit opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, cost millions of American jobs, and greatly hinder the economy,” among other things.

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

“The PRO Act is a radical bill that will have devastating consequences for the economy and infringe on the rights of workers and employers alike. It attempts to eliminate independent work arrangements that workers love, threatens the franchise business model that has made millions of people small business owners, and allows unions to strike against neutral businesses to cause a maximum amount of economic damage.

“Meanwhile, the bill limits the right of workers to keep their votes on unionization secret, violates workers’ privacy by giving away their personal information without their consent, disenfranchises workers from voting on union representation, forces workers to hand over their pay checks to unions they may not agree with, and violates employers’ free speech rights.

“Voters have clearly shown that they do not support the provisions on this bill. They see the PRO Act for what it is – a wishlist of radical policies designed to tip the scales in favor of unions at the expense of workers, employers, and the economy. Congress should reject this radical legislation and protect the rights of America’s workers, small businesses, and consumers.”

CDW Calls Out Hypocrisy of Senator Sanders and His Attacks on Businesses

On March 8, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on workers’ right to unionize and employers’ “illegal corporate union busting.”

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

“This hearing was a clear display of how Senator Sanders views the world. Employers are evil, and unions are the world’s saviors. What Sanders does not mention is that unions are promoting legislation that would infringe on workers’ rights to refrain from joining unions, eliminate secret ballot elections, and allow unions to harass and intimidate workers who do not support unionization.

“Sanders used the hearing to lambast employers for having unfair labor practice charges filed against them but forgets to mention that these are only allegations that have not been fully adjudicated. He forgets to mention that unions use ULP charges to force employers to cave to their demands. He forgets to condemn the unions that commit ULPs as well, including the Teamsters, and he forgets to mention that he himself faced seven ULP charges during his 2020 Presidential Election campaign, including for  retaliating against and interrogating workers who wanted to unionize. Those charges were only dismissed by the NLRB General Counsel because they raised ‘serious First Amendment considerations.’

“The First Amendment is vital in this debate, but it’s another element Senator Sanders fails to acknowledge. Employers have free speech rights that are protected by the Constitution, National Labor Relations Act, and Supreme Court precedent. Simply disliking the fact that employers get an opportunity to discuss unionization with their workers does not make it illegal for employers to do so. Employers have the right to hold meetings with their workers and discuss how unionization will impact them and the business. This right is not up for debate, no matter how many times Senator Sanders and his union cronies question it.

“The PRO Act is radical legislation that does not protect workers. It merely tips the scales of federal labor law dramatically in the direction of unions – largely at the expense of workers, employers, and the economy. Congress should reject the PRO Act and the narrative Senator Sanders is promoting.”

CDW Calls on Congress to Conduct Oversight over NLRB, General Counsel

Washington, DC – On February 27, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace sent a letter to the House and Senate labor committees informing them of the extreme policies being pushed by the NLRB and its General Counsel that “are promoting changes that are contrary to the bedrock principles of our democracy, like free speech, open debate, the right to cast a vote privately, and the promise of a workplace free from harassment.”

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

“The NLRB and General Counsel Abruzzo are pursuing policies that violate workers’ right to secret ballot elections and safe workplaces and employers’ free speech rights, all in an effort to boost union membership. The NLRB is supposed to be a neutral arbiter of federal labor law. Instead, the Board and Abruzzo have chosen to tip the scales in favor of unions.

“Congress should immediately conduct oversight over the agency and Abruzzo and ensure workers and employers are able to freely exercise their rights.”

Congress Must Reject Radical, Economically Destructive PRO Act

Washington, DC – Today, House and Senate Democrats announced plans to reintroduce on February 28 the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a bill that would limit employees’ right to secret ballots, greatly diminished opportunities for those who operate or wish to operate a franchise business, and completely eliminate many pathways to self employment and opportunities for gig work.

The following statement can be attributed to Coalition for a Democratic Workplace Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“The PRO Act is a naked attempt to increase union membership at the expense of employees’ rights to privacy and association, employers’ constitutional right to free speech and opportunities for small businesses. We are disappointed members of Congress are willing to cater to union demands for legislation that clearly threatens the livelihoods of small business owners and is an open attack on the franchise and self employment business models that have fueled innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation.

“Simply put, the PRO Act would be a disaster. Congress should immediately reject this legislation and protect the rights of workers and employers across the nation.”


CDW Calls on 5th Circuit to Protect Common Sense Dress Code Policies

Washington, DC – On February 9, CDW filed an amicus brief before the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in Tesla v NLRB. Our brief calls on the court to reverse the Board’s 2022 decision essentially making all uniform and dress code policies in the workplace presumptively unlawful. The Board said if a policy effectively limits the wearing of union insignia in any way, even if the policy is neutrally applied, the policy should be considered unlawful. The only way the employer can escape liability under the Board’s new theory is to meet the onerous burden of proving the policy is justified due to “special circumstances,” a narrow exception that the Board rarely, if ever, finds employers satisfy.

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

“The Board’s decision attacks common sense workplace dress code policies even though these policies have nothing to do with unions or union support. Workplaces throughout the economy use these policies to ensure worker safety, protect machinery or equipment, or simply create professional work environments. The Board’s decision will leave workplaces less safe for workers and consumers and put at risk the investments employers have made to further their businesses. The 5th Circuit should reverse this illogical decision and give employers the ability to enforce common sense dress code policies in the workplace.”

CDW Files Brief Condemning NLRB General Counsel’s Efforts to Eliminate Secret Ballot Elections, Employer Speech Rights

Washington, DC – On February 8, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, along with six other employer organizations, filed an amicus brief before the NLRB on a case against Starbucks in which the Board’s General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo is attempting to eliminate employer speech rights in union organizing drives as well as employees’ right to secret ballots in union representation elections. CDW’s brief condemns the General Counsel’s proposed changes for violating the National Labor Relations Act, the First Amendment, and numerous judicial decisions affirming these fundamental rights.

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

“The NLRB’s General Counsel wants to force unions on employees who have voted against union representation and silence any debate on the merits of a particular union or union representation generally. In her brief in this case, the General Counsel is demanding that the Board abandon decades of settled law and bring back policies that were soundly rejected by prior Boards, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Not only are the arguments she makes without legal foundation, but the substantive policies she’s pursuing are fundamentally at odds with employees’ right to make an informed choice by secret ballot election, the NLRA’s legislative history, and the First Amendment.

“The Supreme Court, Board, and Congress have routinely protected employees’ right to secret ballot elections, acknowledging that a private ballot election following ‘robust debate’ is by far the best means of ensuring workers can freely choose whether or not they want union representation. The Supreme Court has said our labor laws favor ‘uninhibited robust, and wide-open debate in labor disputes’ and that ‘secret elections are generally the most satisfactory – indeed the preferred – method of ascertaining whether a union has majority support.’ Congress has rejected attempts to eliminate secret ballots in union elections and supported free debate, and President John F. Kennedy said it is essential the law provide for union election campaigns ‘in which both parties can present their viewpoints.’

“The General Counsel is seeking to use her political position to do an end run around the Supreme Court and Congress to force unions on employees that don’t want them and end debate on issues that should be debated. The Board should unequivocally reject this outrageous ideological crusade.”

The fellow amici on the brief were Associated Builders and Contractors, the Chamber of Commerce, Independent Electrical Contractors, International Foodservice Distributors Association, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and National Retail Federation.