News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Letters

May 26, 2013

FLASHPOINT: A crisis at the NLRB

By Richard Trumka

AFL-CIO

and Nancy Guyott

Indiana AFL-CIO

Most people in Indiana don’t even know what the National Labor Relations Board is. Well, why should they?

Here’s why: For decades, American labor law helped working people come together to have a voice on the job which in turn gave them a say in our economy and in our politics and public life. This freedom to organize, which is enshrined in the National Labor Relations Act (and, by the way in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights) helped produce the greatest period of sustained and broad prosperity in our country’s history.

Everyone did better.

Broadly shared prosperity is needed once again. In order to rebuild our economy and level the playing field for all working people — union and non-union — the law protecting workers’ rights must be enforced. That’s the role of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) — and it needs to work.

That doesn’t mean protecting the rights of working people as opposed to the rights of employers. It means ensuring the NLRB’s ability to promote commerce by governing the relationship between workers and employers.

The less the board works, the more America’s economy falls out of whack, as we see it today with record inequality and a shrinking middle class.

But currently the NLRB is under unprecedented attack by extremist Congressional Republicans and corporate lobbyists who want to weaken the board’s power to protect workers who choose to organize and form unions on the job.

While this issue may not grace the front page of every newspaper the effects are and will continue to be felt at home here in Indiana and across the nation.

In the face of partisan obstruction threats in Washington, President Obama made three Board recess appointments. However, an unprecedented and radical decision by conservative U.S. District Court judges has put these appointments in jeopardy.

To make matters worse, House Republicans are pushing legislation to further cripple the Board. Their so-called “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations” Act (H.R. 1120), despite its name, would create more uncertainty and deprive workers of enforceable rights.

These attacks are causing real consequences in real people’s lives.

Marcus Hedger is just one of the many workers who have been denied justice because of the attack on the NLRB. Marcus was the Chief Steward for the union at Fort Dearborn Co. After the union rejected a company proposal, Marcus was fired and told the company was tired of the “union circus.” The NLRB ruled that the firing was illegal and ordered the company to rehire Marcus, but the company has refused because of the Noel Canning decision. Marcus recently lost his home to foreclosure because of the financial distress he faced after being unlawfully fired.

Marcus is hardly alone. Four years ago, Visions of Elk River, a Minnesota school busing company, illegally fired two drivers and three aides, who accompany special needs children, for trying to form a union. The firings were motivated by employees’ known involvement in past union activity.

Without a functioning NLRB, these people were fired, not for doing something wrong, but for doing something that’s protected by law, by openly talking about forming a union or bargaining for a better life. And yet their lives have been thrown into turmoil, and they have no effective recourse.

Justice delayed is justice denied, and justice to working people is being seriously denied because of the instability being forced upon the NLRB.

President Obama has taken an important step towards restoring stability to our system of labor-management relations by nominating a full, bipartisan package of nominees to the NLRB.

Hoosier working families can’t wait in limbo any longer.

Responsibility for providing needed stability and the functioning NLRB working people need and deserve is now up to the U.S. Senate. Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly and members of the Senate should act quickly and confirm the President’s full slate of nominees.

Richard Trumka is president of the 12 million member AFL-CIO and Nancy Guyott is president of the Indiana AFL-CIO, which represents more than 300,000 working Hoosiers.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Air Force: $4.2B Saved From Grounding A-10s US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Champsionship
NDN Video
BASE Jumpers Set World Record Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity