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Warren writes: "Republicans claim they're concerned about workers being able to 'ambush' their employers with workplace elections. That's just plain nonsense. Let's be honest - the only ambush here is the Republican ambush on worker's basic rights."

Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP)
Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP)

The Republican Ambush on Worker's Basic Rights

By Elizabeth Warren, Reader Supported News

08 March 15


t every turn, organized labor has been there, fighting on behalf of the American people.

But today, instead of implementing policies that strengthen the middle class, Republicans in Congress are pushing a bill to stop the National Labor Relations Board from modernizing its procedures because it just might help – yes, I said help – America’s workers.

The only way we’ll stop this from happening is by raising our voices as loudly as possible. Join me right now to tell Congress to let the NLRB do its job.

Coming out of the Great Depression, America’s labor unions helped build America’s strong middle class. For half a century, as America’s union membership went up, America’s median family income went up, and that was true for families whether they were part of a union or not.

Since 1935, Congress has required the National Labor Relations Board to oversee the workplace elections in which workers decide whether to be represented by a union. More than 90 percent of the time when there’s an election, it all goes smoothly. Employees and employers agree about the process, and an election is held without dispute. Done.

But, in the remaining cases, the rules on how to resolve these concerns have turned into a mess. Over time, a hodgepodge of different rules for resolving these disputes emerged in each of the country’s 26 NLRB regions.

To fix this, the NLRB recently finalized national rules that set out the procedures for resolving pre-election issues and conducting elections. In other words, the NLRB is trying to make dispute resolution clearer, more efficient and more consistent from region to region. This is good for workers.

Trying to make government work better shouldn’t be controversial. But it is controversial. Why? Because some employers like the broken tangled rules. They have learned that they can game the system and oppose union votes all together. They don’t want the NLRB to work, so they are lobbying against these new rules.

And Congressional Republicans are standing up for them, advancing a proposal to stop the NLRB from implementing its final rules.

We can’t let Congress promote an inefficient system that gives employers room to manipulate the process and block workers from organizing. Join me right now to tell Congress: Let the NLRB do its job.

Republicans claim they’re concerned about workers being able to “ambush” their employers with workplace elections. That’s just plain nonsense.

Let’s be honest – the only ambush here is the Republican ambush on worker’s basic rights.

According to a 2011 study from the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, long election delays correspond with higher rates of labor law violations. A delay gives anti-union employers more time to retaliate against union organizers and to intimidate workers.

So it comes down the question I’ve asked before: who does this Congress work for?

Republicans say government should keep on working for employers who don’t like unions and who have figured out how to exploit a tangled system. They complain about government inefficiencies, but then they introduce a bill that is specifically designed so that a broken, inefficient system will stay broken and inefficient – even when we know how to fix it.

But we weren’t sent here just to represent employers who don’t like unions. We’re here to support working people who just want a fighting chance to level the playing field.

Join me right now to tell Congress to let the NLRB do its job.

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+20 # REDPILLED 2015-03-08 09:39
All true about the Rethuglicans, especially since Reagan crushed the Air Traffic Controllers Union.

But what have the Dems done since Reagan, except get on the Corporate/Wall Street anti-union payroll?

Now, If Warren & Sanders and Sherrod Brown and Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney and the Progressive Caucus and the Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus left the Dems and formed a People's Party, that could make a real difference.
+3 # babalu 2015-03-08 11:23
Aw, shucks! There you go again (to quote Reagan)!
Red, you know the drill of Fox News - first ask it as a question. Then when no one bothers to answer, it's hah, gotcha on what have the Dems done!
Let's ALL PITCH IN and let our repugnant reps know we are not fooled and let our Dems know they have to stand up or ALL will be out of office!
Don't act like you are i the Republican whiner party - nobody love us riches!
+9 # Seadog 2015-03-08 13:07
No it wouldn't. We need to take back control of the D party for lots of reasons. If you put all your eggs in a minor party basket your marginalized end of story.
-2 # GeorgePenman 2015-03-08 16:04
We can't vote for a minor party because it will actually be a vote for the opposition.
The only way to fix this is with ranked voting: you vote for your first, second, and third preference and you vote won't be wasted.
It should be the procedure for all levels of elections. It would break the two-party monopoly.
+30 # Barbara K 2015-03-08 10:15
Go get them, Senator Warren! The Rs are out to make us even poorer by taking away our worker's rights. We need the Dems more than ever to stop the garbage the Tbagger/Rs are throwing at us. Block and filibuster everything that is not in OUR best interest. The Rs/TPs are already wealthy enough off our backs, it is our turn now. We need to be able to feed and provide for our families. We are counting on you and the other Dems in congress to help us. Don't let them make you back down on anything.

+13 # turnoutthelights 2015-03-08 10:20
Senator Warren, my senator, is of course right again. I recommend Heather Cox Richardson's book "To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party" for historical perspective on labor and many other issues
+13 # Peace Anonymous 2015-03-08 10:49
We live in a democracy and have the right to have our voices heard. As a result many professions have formed associations which promote their respective industries at a variety of different levels.

Unions have historically provided a voice which has enabled the working people in our world to have their voices heard. Unions are not perfect. But regardless of your personal opinion isn't denying workers their rights denying democracy to the people who pay their taxes?

The voices of workers must be heard. If you are sitting back and hoping Elizabeth Warren and a few like her create the world you want I think you're missing the point! I think you better get involved.
+12 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-03-08 11:17
Run Elizabeth, RUN.
+9 # Knuk 2015-03-08 12:51
What could she do from the White House, with a Congress carefully packed with right wingers, that she isn't already doing, and badly needed to keep doing, as a Senator? Could she perhaps make a difference even by what she would say on the campaign trail?

Sending more progressive Dems to Congress is certainly part of the solution. That will take time, dedication, and skill to achieve. Meanwhile, surely a few other trustworthy souls can still be found to go after the job of figurehead this time around? If not, things really are looking scary......
+12 # kalpal 2015-03-08 11:28
When I was in college I subscribed to Fortune Magazine. Nearly every month I got mail from one law firm or another proposing to eradicate my union for a reasonable fee. That was 40 years ago. I bet it still goes on.

The wealthy wage class warfare against the working and middle classes on a constant basis. It is imperative to the wealthy that this nation regress to a feudal state as soon as possible.

After all labor must be forced to endure below subsistence income if the wealthy are to amass more wealth so as to bribe more legislators.

An old saying I coined long ago, Never fight city hall, bribe city council.
+4 # Blackjack 2015-03-08 14:11
For those who have seen the movie, "Anatomy of a Murder," there is reference to a principle that aptly applies here, and that is: who will change the way the game of corruption is played? It certainly won't be those who are too ignorant to know what the game is. It won't be those who are too self-obsessed to care what the game is. It won't be those who are benefitting from the game. It will have to be initiated by those who know and care what the game is and who know that it must be changed for the benefit of the many over the few. Who would that be? It would be Democrats in office, who like Warren, have the energy, the passion, and the integrity to step outside of their safe little corporate box and do the right thing. This could be a pivotal year for progressive leadership and Warren is certainly setting the standard. How many Dems will follow?
+2 # Robbee 2015-03-08 16:14
who knew an american politician other than sanders could talk with passion about unions? i'm overcome
+2 # Peace Anonymous 2015-03-08 22:19
In 2008 we all hoped "Change We Can Believe In" would have actually created change. And Congressman Alan Grayson explained the problem quite eloquently when he stated, "One party is a whole owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the other party caters to them as well." Obama may have won by a landslide, but couldn't create the change we all wanted because of the corporate interests which funnel millions back to candidates courtesy of lobbyists and campaign contributions. The truth we must all see and understand is that corporations have the vast majority of elected representatives by the balls - and I am very grateful that Warren can function so effectively without them.

The greatest single problem our democracy faces is getting the money out of politics and having a government which functions in the best interest of the people. We do not need the government to keep out of business - we need business to keep out of government.

Obama couldn't change anything alone and Warren, even in the Whitehouse, will face the same dilemma. It really is up to you.
0 # Blackjack 2015-03-09 10:11
The real problem "Peace" is that too many of our elected officials have no desire to "get money out of politics" because they are benefitting from the game the way it is now being played. I don't believe that all of them went into "public service" because of the money, but because of how the system now works, they have found a way to stay in office by playing the money game. That's why I think the change has to come from those of us who put these people in office. We are the ones who have to change their minds, to make them see that money doesn't necessarily equal votes, and that it is John Q. Public who does the voting. That means applied pressure at every turn. In short, we have to learn to be lobbyists en masse.
+1 # RLF 2015-03-10 08:07
It is not just the money in politics but the money after politics. Not sure the money thing is the silver bullet...I think it will take more to get our democracy back.
0 # RLF 2015-03-10 08:06
Problem is that I've seen progressives slamming unions...that is how far the propaganda against unions has gone.

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