Minority Bargaining: Unions Make the Big Play

By August 17, 2007Labor Unions

Thanks to Richard Hankins’ energetic pursuit of the issue — as documented at the EFCAUpdates blog — we now know precisely what it is that the AFL-CIO affiliated unions want to achieve with their petition to the National Labor Relations Board asking for “minority bargaining.” (Previous posts here and here.) From their formal petition, asking that the NLRB promulgate a rule:

Pursuant to Sections 7, 8(a)(1), and 8(a)(5) of the Act, in workplaces where employees are not currently represented by a certified or recognized Section 9(a) majority/exclusive collective-bargaining representative in an appropriate bargaining unit, the employer, upon request, has a duty to bargain collectively with a labor organization that represents less than an employee-majority with regard to the employees who are its members, but not for any other employees.

Well, that would certainly be a change, wouldn’t it? No majority election, heck, no majority card-check, just get a reasonable (as defined by the unions) number of people, and demand that the empoyer negotiate with you. The minority rules!

Hankins observes:

The 71-page Petition was authored by Professor Charles Morris on behalf of the Steelworkers Union. The Steelworkers Union’s Petition is joined by:

  • the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America;
  • the California Nurses Association;
  • the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers;
  • the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America;
  • the Communication Workers of America; and
  • the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
  • All seven of the union signatories are AFL-CIO unions, and, with the exception of the unions that represent government workers, they are the largest unions in that organization. Neither the AFL-CIO nor the unions representing government workers signed on to the petition. Additionally, the Change to Win organization and its member unions have been noticeably silent on the issue.

    Richard has made the petition and a letter of support from various law school professors available for downloading at EFCAUpdates, so head over there. Heart of their argument:

    It is our view that protecting employees’ right to organize and bargain through minority unions on a members-only basis where there is not currently a majority-exclusivity bargaining agent provides a useful and often-needed steppingstone to majority-based Section 9(a) collective bargaining, such as was commonly practiced during the first decade of the Act. And it is our further view that the resulting enhancement of the collective bargaining process will inure to the benefit of both employees and employers and contribute to a healthier economy.

    Personally, we’re inured to these attempts at shoehorning “novel” interpretations into the law to achieve radical changes in public policy.

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