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Battista in Wonderland
Written by Erin Johansson   
November 25, 2007

This past September, National Labor Relations Board Chairman Robert Battista, appointed by Bush in 2002, led his fellow Republicans in a flurry of anti-worker decisions.  After reviewing these decisions, I’m momentarily deluded into thinking that Americans wield enormous power in the workplace that needs to be checked, and that employers can only catch a break when the government steps in to protect them.  When I quickly return to reality, I’m left wondering if Battista and friends missed the sarcasm in Stephen Colbert’s call for management “solidarity.”

The Labor Board’s “September Steamroll” galvanized over 1,000 workers to brave cold November rain and picket the NLRB headquarters in Washington, DC.  Mike Hall of  AFL-CIO Now explains why their members were inspired to protest based on these decisions that: 

  • Make it harder to form unions through majority sign-up […]
  • Make it harder for illegally fired workers to recover back pay […]
  • Make it legal for employers to discriminate against union supporters in the hiring process and to refuse to hire a worker who comes to the job intending to try to form a union.

More than just the usual suspects are now taking note of the Labor Board’s extremist decisions.  The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other news outlets covered the September rulings and some of the implications for workers.  Chairman Battista even issued a rare statement to the media, dismissing the outcry against the rulings as “shrill political rhetoric.”   It’s about time the media started noticing that the Board—tasked with protecting our fundamental rights to freedom of association—has been quietly dismantling those rights.