By Sahid Fawaz
The United States has restored the Republican majority at the National Relations Board.
“As Republicans take control of the U.S. agency that enforces federal labor law, unions are bracing for decisions that could make it harder for them to solicit support and boost their ranks by limiting their ability to contact workers.
The Republican-led U.S. Senate voted along party lines on Wednesday to confirm John Ring, a management-side labor lawyer nominated by President Donald Trump, to a vacancy on the five-member National Labor Relations Board. His confirmation restores Republicans’ 3-2 edge on the board, which had been deadlocked since December.
The NLRB, which has oversight over all private-sector employers, presides over union elections and legal disputes between workers, unions and companies.
Unions and worker advocates said they are worried that with a Republican majority, the board will issue a series of decisions and regulations that could impede their ability to reach out to workers by restricting unions’ physical access to workplaces and barring employees from using company email accounts to solicit support for unions.
The NLRB could also give companies more time to counter union campaigns and limit the ways in which unions can contact workers in order to solicit their support by revoking so-called quickie election rules issued in 2015, which it has already taken the first steps toward eliminating.
‘It looks as though this board is going to be incredibly active, and make things harder’ for unions, said Catherine Ruckelshaus, a lawyer with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a union-funded employment law and policy advocacy group. NELP is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, which represents nearly 2 million U.S. workers.”
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