March 31, 2015
New federal rules designed to expedite private-sector union elections will stand, thanks to President Obama, who reversed congressional action with the stroke of his pen.
Obama said the changes, recently made by the National Labor Relations Board, are needed because they make it easier for workers to join a union. “One of the freedoms of folks here in the United States is that if they choose to join a union, they should be able to do so,” he said. “And we shouldn’t be making it impossible for that to happen.”
President Obama also praised unions for helping to establish fair labor standards, eliminating child labor and improving wages and benefits for all workers.
The GOP-led Congress in early March blocked the NLRB rules, which are opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. On March 31, President Obama signed a “memorandum of disapproval” overturning the congressional decision.
The new rules are intended to “streamline Board procedures, increase transparency and uniformity across regions, eliminate or reduce unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay, and update the Board's rules on documents and communications in light of modern communications technology,” the NLRB said when it first proposed the rules in 2011.
The Senate voted to reverse the NLRB rules the same day that California RN Brenda Crawford, a UNAC/UHCP member, testified the rules are needed to keep employers from dragging their feet and foiling workers’ desire to organize for better pay, benefits and quality of life.
Obama also announced that the White House this fall will host a summit “on increasing the voice and the rights of workers here in the United States.” Pointing to a recovery that has benefited mostly the people at the top while the middle class struggles, the President said we should “give workers the capacity to have their voices heard, to have some influence in the workplace, to make sure that they’re partners in building up the U.S. economy, and that growth is broad-based …”