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Law Professors to Congress: Do Something Already!
Written by Erin Johansson   
December 19, 2007

It's not every day that a labor law blogger has the thrill of watching Congress put the National Labor Relations Board on the hot seat.  Each time I revisit the testimony from last week’s joint House and Senate subcommittee hearing, I find new layers of this story to share. 

In a letter to Congress added to the hearing record by Senator Kennedy, a majority of U.S. labor law professors lambasted the Bush Board’s record:

The Congresses that enacted and amended the NLRA from 1935 to 1959 viewed collective bargaining as an essential way to maintain and expand America’s middle class.  This Board’s decisions, significantly eroding workers’ ability to gain the right to bargain with their employer for a better future, highlight the need for legislative reform and for a return by the current Board to its statutory mandate.  We call upon Congress to address both of these urgent needs.

Professor Matthew Finkin of the University of Illinois echoed these concerns in his testimony at the hearing.  He noted that the Labor Board “is summoned to fine tune national labor policy, consistent with the purpose of the law, in the face of changed circumstances and demonstrable need.”  Yet he observed that the Bush Board was “oblivious to the unfolding realities of the American economy,” and has only worsened the problems of narrow coverage of the law, difficult access to union representation, and insufficient remedies to violations of the law.