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Meyerson: The "Fox in the Henhouse" Administration
Written by Erin Johansson   
December 12, 2007

This is how Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson aptly described the prevalence of “counter-regulatory regulators” in the Bush administration, with the anti-worker National Labor Relations Board as a prime example. 

Meyerson spoke at today’s meeting of the DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, where he continued to impress me with his ability to include labor law issues in the big picture discussion of income inequality.  He argued that the abysmal state of labor law and need for reform should be front and center in the progressive agenda of those seeking office in 2008.  The case for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, Meyerson argued, is to both “empower American workers…in the workplace,” and to “rebuild broadly shared prosperity that was the national testament to the greatness of democracy.” 

Nancy Schiffer, Associate General Counsel of the AFL-CIO, spoke of the latest Labor Board decisions which “overruled precedent and changed the rules…in ways that fundamentally strip workers of their rights.”  Schiffer contrasted the Republican majority’s ruling on the Dana Metaldyne decision to Wurtland Nursing, cases issued the very same day.  In Dana, the majority ruled that signed union authorization cards were an “inferior” way of indicating majority support for a union, while in Wurtland, the majority ruled that a signed petition was “objective proof” that employees wanted to withdrawal union support.  Schiffer concluded that the Labor Board was “elevating the rights of workers who don’t want a union over the rights of workers who do.” 

Schiffer also highlighted the Labor Board’s double standard for posting notices to workers of their “rights:” employers are required to tell workers they can kick out their unions, but not that they have the right to form one.