WASHINGTON (Sept. 2, 2011)—The United Steelworkers union is praising the National Labor Relations Board for overturning a 2007 reinterpretation of collective bargaining rights.
Meanwhile, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association has joined the National Association of Manufacturers and other business organizations to protest the NLRB decision.
The NLRB recently ruled in favor of the USW in its appeal of a decertification petition at Houston-based Lamons Gasket Co.
A group of workers at Lamons petitioned for decertification of the union in December 2009, about a month after Lamons voluntarily recognized the USW as the workers' bargaining representative.
Under a precedent set by a 2007 NLRB decision involving Dana Corp., workers representing at least 30 percent of the work force at a union-organized business had the right to petition for decertification within 45 days of management recognition of the union.
On Aug. 26, however, the board ruled 4-1 that the Dana decision was in error. It reverted to the standard it established in 1966 that an employer's voluntary recognition of a union barred decertification petitions for “a reasonable period of time” to allow the union to demonstrate it could bargain effectively for the workers.
In a press release, the USW said the NLRB's ruling in the Lamons case was a landmark decision that protected workers' rights to organize.
“The USW successfully prevailed upon the NLRB to overrule its Bush-era case of Dana Corp. which, in contravention of 50 years of prior NLRB and court law, had made it more difficult to obtain voluntary recognition from an employer,” the union said.
In its own release, MEMA said it continues to oppose the Lamons decision and other recent NLRB decisions that it said were punitive toward employers.
The association quoted with approval a recent speech by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. Kline, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee called on President Obama to curb what he called the NLRB's pro-union agenda.
“Obama can no longer stand idle as his labor board wreaks havoc on the nation's work force,” Kline said. “With more than 14 million Americans unemployed, it is past time the president denounced the job-destroying actions of the NLRB and begin working with Congress on responsible policies that will put our nation's workers and job creators first.”