• NLRB Suspends Its Attack On Right-To-Work Laws For Now

    Following a decision by federal labor board officials to suspend its call for legal briefs, a top Republican condemned the request simply being an assault on state right-to-work laws.

    It all started back in April when National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairman Mark Pearce, as part of the Buckeye Florida labor case, made a request for legal briefs to examine whether employees in right-to-work states should be forced to pay union fees. After months of opposition, primarily from congressional Republicans, the board decided Tuesday to suspend the request.

    “The NLRB’s request for briefs suggested to me that the board was thinking about undermining state right-to-work laws,” Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander declared in a statement Wednesday. “Which is as outrageous and misguided as it is damaging for worker rights and job growth.”

    The call for briefs specifically sought to answer if unions could charge a fee related to the cost of processing grievance complaint, for union members and non-members alike. Right-to-work, which has passed in 25 states, outlaws mandatory union dues or any form of fees as a condition of employment.

    “Not only should the board never have undertaken this effort in the first place—it should resist any future attempts to undermine a law that’s been settled for nearly 70 years,” Alexander continued. “I cannot think of anything more damaging to middle-income Tennesseans than undermining our right-to-work law.”

    Alexander, as chairman of the Senate labor committee, as led much of the effort to oppose the NLRB. The move to ask for briefs on whether unions can force nonmembers in right-to-work states to pay a fee, could potentially reverse almost 70 years of established laws under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. The act has allowed states to decide whether or not they want to be right-to-work.

    “I’ve seen over the last 30 years how our right-to-work law has helped to attract the auto industry to our state, created competition and good jobs, and helped family incomes rise,” Alexander concluded.

    Unions and their supporters argue the action is warranted because unions are compelled by law to process all grievance complaints within a workplace they represent. Both sides have adamantly defended their views on multiple occasions in the past year including at a House hearing in June and a Senate budget meeting in May.

    The call for briefs is not the first NLRB board decision that has prompted concern among critics. Several key decisions in just the past year has made Republicans and business leaders worried the board is trying to benefit unions at the expense of employers and even their workers.

    The concern of bias among labor board officials toward unions, which oppose right-to-work laws, has gotten so bad that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced the NLRB Reform Act in an effort to address it.

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