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Trump-Appointed NLRB Is ‘Making It Harder For’ Workers - Organized Labor ‘Refuses To Talk Their Decisions Lying Down And Fights Back’

Published Wednesday, January 15, 2020
by Stephon Johnson/The Amsterdam News
Trump-Appointed NLRB Is ‘Making It Harder For’ Workers - Organized Labor ‘Refuses To Talk Their Decisions Lying Down And Fights Back’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Even though several recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would make it harder for Workers to Unionize, Labor Unions are refusing to take these decisions lying down.

In 2014, the NLRB ruled that Employees at Purple Communications who have access to their employers’ e-mail system for “work-related” purposes had a right to use those e-mails during non-work time.  

The NLRB said that these communications were protected for Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), but the new NLRB - with members appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, overruled the previous decision in Caesars Entertainment d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, stating that employers can restrict the ability of Employees to use their work e-mail outside of work time to discuss workplace issues.

The 2014 case was filed by the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

“Corporations ‘have far too much power over’ Working People’s lives.” CWA President Chris Shelton said. “The National Labor Relations Board I’s supposed to safeguard Workers’ freedom to join together and fight back against injustice at their workplaces and protect Workers when their employers abuse their power.’  President Trump’s NLRB ‘has done just the opposite.’  ‘With every decision, they make it harder for Workers to speak out and easier for employers to silence them.’”

The NLRB also ruled in the Apogee Retail LLC d/b/a Unique Thrift Store case that employers can stop Workers from discussing ongoing investigations into illegal or unethical behavior like sexual harassment.

According to CWA, silencing Workers who night be affected by the behavior in question allows employers to cover up allegations and prevents Workers from sharing information they could connect their experiences.

“These decisions ‘show why passing legislation like the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to increase Worker Power is so important,’” said Shane Larson, who serves as CWA Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy. “The Trump Administration ‘has been working as fast as they can on corporate America’s wish list for silencing anyone who dares to challenge their absolute control over Working People’s lives.’  ‘They want us to sit down and shut up.’”

In another case that might demonstrate the reason to pass PRO, the NLRB ruled in a case involving Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona, California that employers can stop collecting Union Dues from Members’ paychecks once the Collective Bargaining Agreement ends.  This would allow employers to interfere with Union Members’ relationship with their Collective Bargaining Representative and makes it harder for Members to remain in good standing so that they can vote on Union issues.

Some 1,200 Full-Time Nurses at the medical center say their concerned about working conditions, the Nurse-to-Patient Ratio and their health insurance plan.

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