Vice President, Labor Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
November 03, 2017
On November 1, Democrats in the U.S. Congress released several labor-related proposals as part of their so-called “Better Deal,” a multi-faceted set of policy prescriptions they would like to implement if given the chance. As might be expected, this is essentially a union wish list designed to stack the deck for organized labor and make it more difficult for businesses to operate.
Specifically, the “Better Deal” would:
- Increase penalties on employers for allegedly misclassifying individuals as supervisors and independent contractors. Since supervisors and independent contractors are not eligible to unionize, this would expand the pool of potential union dues-payers.
- Expand the right to strike and prevent employers from hiring permanent replacements for individuals who choose to walk off the job to strike.
- Allow secondary boycotts against a neutral company for doing business with another company engaged in a labor dispute, overturning decades of settled law and sucking numerous employers into the maelstrom of union corporate campaigns.
- Impose a mandatory mediation and arbitration process to force a first contract on employers, a process completely at odds with the National Labor Relations Act and one that will undoubtedly saddle small businesses with unaffordable contract provisions.
- Ban right-to-work laws that give employees the freedom to choose whether or not to join or support a union, which 28 states have elected to allow. Not only would this overturn democratically enacted state laws all across the country, it would force workers to pay union dues regardless of their wishes.
- Expand collective bargaining for government employees, something that Democratic icon and New Deal author Franklin D. Roosevelt thought should not be tolerated.
- Rig the National Labor Relations Board’s procedures to speed up representation elections, which the Board already has done with its ambush election rule.
- Prevent employers from discussing the pros and cons of unionization with their employees during workplace meetings.
- Coerce federal contractors by imposing onerous labor requirements as a condition of obtaining or maintaining a contract with the government.
Needless to say, that is quite a list, and it lays out a marker for what might be expected should Democrats regain control of the legislative branch. In fact, Sen. Chuck Schumer said, “We are going to campaign on this issue…. We are going to fight, fight, fight to get this done…. Should we…get the majority, this will be at the top of our list early January 2019.”
If the eight years of the Obama administration have taught us anything, it’s that heavy-handed regulation has harmful economic consequences. Should the policies described above become law, the only ones getting a “Better Deal” will be the union bosses.