Today, the Senate voted to pass S.J.Res. 8, which would overturn a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule streamlining and simplifying how workers vote on whether or not they want to join or form a union. This congressional resolution of disapproval takes aim at a modest update of rules that increase transparency and remove barriers to workers getting timely union elections.
I joined with other senior advisors to the President in recommending that he veto this resolution if it is passed by Congress. We did so because it would make it harder for Americans to make their voices heard in the workplace. And that’s exactly the opposite of what working families need and deserve.
Labor unions have helped to build our nation’s middle class, playing a critical role in raising Americans’ wages and putting into place the workplace protections that we all enjoy today. Standing on its own, one worker's voice may be ignored, but when workers speak collectively, they can advocate for and win meaningful improvements in the workplace.
That’s why President Obama made clear in his recent State of the Union address, as he has time and time again, that we need laws that strengthen — not weaken — unions and that give American workers greater voice. Doing so will help restore the important link between hard work and opportunity by ensuring that the benefits of the economic recovery are more broadly shared.
One important way to give workers greater voice is to make it easier for them to express their wishes about whether or not to be represented by a union. The NLRB’s rule brings union election procedures into the 21st century, allowing for electronic filing and transmission of documents, improved communications between the parties, streamlined litigation procedures, standardized processes across regions, and consolidated appeals. These common-sense improvements will get some of the paperwork and delay out of the way of elections, letting workers make their choice more freely and quickly.
S.J.Res. 8 would move us in the wrong direction. If workers want to have a union, they should be able to vote for one without unnecessary and costly delays. The Board’s rule helps level the playing field for workers so they have more of a voice in their own future. That will help us build an economy with more security for middle-class families and more opportunity for all Americans.