NLRB Rulings Spark Debate at Small Business Committee Hearing


On a day packed with  Capitol Hill activity on the topic of labor regulations, the House Small Business Committee, chaired by IFA 2011 Legislator of the Year Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), held a full committee hearing yesterday entitled “Adding to Uncertainty: the Impact of Dept. of Labor and NLRB Decisions and Proposed Rules on Small Businesses”. The afternoon hearing was followed by the introduction of the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act by Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) and the announcement that the effective date of the NLRB’s notice posting requirement will be delayed from November 14, 2011 to January 31, 2012.

A panel of witnesses included Ms. Elizabeth Milito, a representative from the Washington-based National Federation of Independent Businesses, who testified that NLRB has no statutory authority to impose the poster requirement.  Ms. Milito explained that government agencies such as OSHA and the EEOC have the statutory authority to require such postings on workplace safety and anti-discrimination policies, but that the National Labor Relations Act gives the Board no such authority because the poster contains unbalanced language and it does not fall within the Board’s mandate of promoting mutually beneficial relationships between employers and workers.

Another witness, Mr. Allen West, testified that his sheet metal shop is unionized and that the proposed notice requirement will not change his relationship with his workers.  Pressed by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) on whether or not prohibited action by employees should be posted alongside prohibitions on employers, Mr. West replied that he had such a posting in his shop’s lunchroom.  Rep. Mulvaney simply responded by asking a rhetorical question: “Is it required by NLRB?”, implying the complete absence of balanced language in the poster.

IFA continues to support pro-growth policies that will allow job-creators to provide work for millions of unemployed Americans and drive the recovery of a stagnant economy.  IFA is taking action to protect small businesses from onerous regulations like those promulgated by NLRB, and applauds Rep. Kline for holding a similar hearing in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and for the introduction of an important bill that will allow franchise business owners to have sufficient time to talk to their employees and guarantees that employees have the chance to make an informed decision through a private-ballot process.