Well once again the NLRB is attempting to change the rules of the game when it comes to union organizing. They recently announced new regulations in the election process which is already subject to litigation in the courts through various employer associations. The current administration, with assistance from the various trade unions, has stated over and over again that these changes are necessary to even the playing field for unions in the organizing context. The reality is that it simply is not necessary nor appropriate. The current rules have been in place for decades and have worked quite effectively. Quite frankly, compared to any other administrative body or court system, the NLRB moves representation case proceedings along at almost lightning speed.
Contrary to what the unions may contend, it is not the system that prevents them from organizing employees, it is the mere fact that unions simply do not add value these days. With all the new employment related legislation that has been put in place in the last 40 years, there simply is no need for unions, no matter the industry. In years past, especially in the construction trades, unions would provide training and solid journeyman work skills for its members. That simply is not the case anymore. Moreover, with so many unions in the manufacturing sector being devastated by the change to overseas production, such unions are floundering financially due to lack of dues money coming into their coffers. They have attempted to focus on other industries, such as public employees, healthcare, and gaming, but these industries simply do not fill the gap, especially since employees do not see unions as being relevant to their workplaces.
So let’s be honest about why these changes are being put in place by the NLRB on an almost weekly basis, it is simply to enhance the union’s ability to organize employees. The old set of rules, again, worked for decades quite effectively. So the need to modify the election procedures or no solicitation – no distribution policies with respect to e-mail in the workplace, or shifting the burdens, in terms of determining what is an appropriate unit, simply causes undue litigation. If anything, such litigation slows the process down more than any of the proposed changes to fast track the process. Bottom line, if unions want to really make a difference, they need to take a good strong look at themselves and not point to external factors as the reason for their demise and try to fix what is not broken.