NLRB Accused of Weaponizing Enforcement Power to Aid Unions

Senator Bill CassidySenator Bill Cassidy (Image via Senate HELP Committee)

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, is calling out the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for what he describes as weaponizing its enforcement power to target high-profile employers in order to revive certain policies and precedents favored by unions. This comes after reports of NLRB officials coordinating with Starbucks Workers United (SWU) to tip representation elections in favor of SWU, which has allegedly used its position to threaten, intimidate, and coerce employees who resisted unionization.

The NLRB is required by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to act as a neutral party in labor disputes between employees and employers, not in favor of one party over the other. The Supreme Court confirmed this in First Nat’l Maintenance Corp. v. NLRB.

In addition to coordination with SWU, the NLRB has taken other controversial actions to target prominent employers, including issuing a decision against Tesla that forces them to allow employees to display pro-union apparel even if it violates their dress code. The NLRB has also used its litigation to revive certain pro-union policies like “card check,” which would eliminate secret ballot union elections, removing a key protection for workers from intimidation.

“While no company is exempt from the National Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA) obligations, no company should be unfairly targeted and intimidated by a regulatory board,” wrote Dr. Cassidy. “The Board’s recent actions in representation cases, to say nothing of the sheer volume of litigation currently directed at fewer than a handful of employers, indicates a disturbing pattern of politicized targeting that poses a direct affront to principles of procedural due process and impartial enforcement.”

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“The actions by the NLRB appear to contradict the Supreme Court’s admonition that the NLRA ‘is not intended to serve [either labor or business’] individual interest…,” continued Dr. Cassidy. “Given the recent onslaught of unprecedented actions taken by the Board, I request that you answer the following questions, on a question-by-question basis, by March 21, 2023.”

Read the full letter here.

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