The National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) has taken a broad step towards doing away with unions in America that upsets the current collective bargaining and union recognition system. Employers can now announce a pending withdrawal of recognition within 90 days of the contract expiration and withdraw when the collective bargaining agreement ends. The Union then has 45 days to file a petition for a new election. This was a 3-1 decision based on Johnson Control’s Inc. anticipatory withdrawal of recognition to a UAW affiliate that represented 160 of its workers. (NLRB 10-CA-151843 7/3/19) In overturning portions of the 2001 ruling in Levitz Furniture, the NLRB said this ruling protected employee free choice and that it would apply the new framework retroactively. The NLRB is also considering changes to other restrictions on elections to decertify . The new decision allows the employer to cease bargaining with a union and question its majority status 90 days prior to the expiration of a contract and to unilaterally force the union to once again go through an election to prove its majority status in the workplace. This decision completely upends the union representational scheme that has brought labor peace in the workplace.
Many employees will likely loose union representation and power at the bargaining table. On the plus side, the new system will force unions into a more adversary relationship and force those unions who currently do little in the workplace between contracts to become more active in order to actually maintain majority status. But this is clearly an attack on organized labor and reflects the current lack of organization in the workplaces of America. Less than 30 percent of American workers are organized and those that are come largely from the public sector. This lack of organization by labor in the USA is what makes the governmental leaders feel free to take a stab at labor. Our response will determine weather this attack proves fatal.