02.11.15

Murray: GOP Again Defending Big Corporations with Opposition to NLRB Rule

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks at a HELP Committee hearing on the National Labor Relations Board’s new representation rule to streamline and modernize election procedures. In her remarks, Murray criticized Republicans for opposing modest and common-sense updates to bring the NLRB election process into the 21st century and guarantee a free and fair election process for today’s workers. Murray also highlighted that Republicans are once again putting the profits of the biggest corporations ahead of the rights and opportunities of middle class families.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Even as the biggest corporations have posted record profits, and even as American productivity has increased, American workers’ paychecks have stagnated. And many are struggling to make ends meet on rock-bottom wages and poor conditions on the job. Unfortunately, once again, instead of sticking up for workers, my Republican colleagues are rushing to the defense of the biggest corporations that have an interest in keeping wages low and denying workers a voice to improve the workplace.”

“When workers want to vote on whether to form a union, they aren’t looking for special treatment. They are simply trying to exercise their basic rights. But too often, big corporations use loopholes in the current election process to delay a straight up-or-down vote. Workers have the right to vote on union representation in elections that are free from unnecessary delays and wasteful stall tactics. And our country should not turn our backs on empowering workers through collective bargaining – especially because that’s the very thing that helped so many workers climb into the middle class.”

“As a reminder, by law, workers have the right to join a union so they can have a voice in the workplace. But right now, the NLRB’s election rule is outdated. The NLRB’s new representation rule makes important, but modest, amendments to guarantee a free and fair election process in today’s modern workplace.”

“This new rule brings the rules into the 21st century by letting employers and unions file forms electronically. And, it will allow the use of more modern forms of communication to employees through cell phones and email. These changes aren’t just good for workers. They are also good for employers by streamlining the election process. Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle take great offense to these modest changes. Instead of standing up for workers across the country who are struggling with stagnant wages, Republicans have chosen to challenge these common-sense reforms.”

“Let’s be clear: This rule is about reducing unnecessary litigation, and using cell phones and email to transmit information in 2015 is just common-sense. A worker wanting to have a voice in the workplace is not an ambush. It’s their right, as guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act and by the First Amendment of our Constitution. Workers having a seat at the bargaining table is critical to America’s middle class. It’s not a coincidence that when more workers can stand up for their rights, wages increase, workplaces are safer, and access to health care goes up.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to especially thank our witnesses for taking the time to be here today.

“In Congress, we should be working on ways to grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down. But over the last several decades, the middle class has gotten stuck with a shrinking share of America’s prosperity.

“Even as the biggest corporations have posted record profits, and even as American productivity has increased, American workers’ paychecks have stagnated. And many are struggling to make ends meet on rock-bottom wages and poor conditions on the job.

“Unfortunately, once again, instead of sticking up for workers, my Republican colleagues are rushing to the defense of the biggest corporations that have an interest in keeping wages low and denying workers a voice to improve the workplace.

“When workers want to vote on whether to form a union, they aren’t looking for special treatment. They are simply trying to exercise their basic rights. But too often, big corporations use loopholes in the current election process to delay a straight up-or-down vote.

“Workers have the right to vote on union representation in elections that are free from unnecessary delays and wasteful stall tactics. And our country should not turn our backs on empowering workers through collective bargaining – especially because that’s the very thing that helped so many workers climb into the middle class.

“As a reminder, by law, workers have the right to join a union so they can have a voice in the workplace. But right now, the NLRB’s election rule is outdated.

“The NLRB’s new representation rule makes important, but modest, amendments to guarantee a free and fair election process in today’s modern workplace.

“For example, the old election rule are vulnerable to frivolous litigation, which would drag out elections and to put workers’ rights on hold.

“The new rule will reduce unnecessary litigation on issues that aren’t relevant to the outcome of the election.

“In the past, employers had to send out mail through the post office, which cost time and money. This new rule brings the rules into the 21st century by letting employers and unions file forms electronically. And, it will allow the use of more modern forms of communication to employees through cell phones and email.

“These changes aren’t just good for workers. They are also good for employers by streamlining the election process. Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle take great offense to these modest changes. 

“Instead of standing up for workers across the country who are struggling with stagnant wages, Republicans have chosen to challenge these common-sense reforms.

“Let’s be clear: This rule is about reducing unnecessary litigation, and using cell phones and email to transmit information in 2015 is just common-sense.

“A worker wanting to have a voice in the workplace is not an ambush. It’s their right, as guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act and by the First Amendment of our Constitution.

“Workers having a seat at the bargaining table is critical to America’s middle class. It’s not a coincidence that when more workers can stand up for their rights, wages increase, workplaces are safer, and access to health care goes up.

“In short, middle-class Americans are better able to share in the economic prosperity that they’ve earned through hard work.

“So instead of attacking workers who want to collectively bargain, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle reconsider their approach, and work with us to protect workers’ rights, increase wages, and grow our nation’s middle class.

“And I truly hope Republicans and Democrats can break through the gridlock and work together on policies that create jobs, expand economic security, and generate broad-based economic growth for workers and families – not just the wealthiest few.

“Thank you.”

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