In today’s New York Times, labor beat writer Steven Greenhouse has a piece entitled "Unions Fear a Rollback of Rights Under Republicans." The article cites concerns by the leaders of AFSCME and the AFL-CIO that Republican Congressional majorities would pursue legislation contrary to union interests.
One such item mentioned is the Secret Ballot Protection Act — a bill designed precisely opposite the card check provisions of the Employee Free Choice Act. Both these bills have previously been proposed repeatedly. EFCA was introduced as H.R. 1409 and S. 560 in the 111th Congress, and before that as H.R. 800 (which passed the House) and S. 1041 in the 110th. The Secret Ballot Protection Act was originally proposed in the 110th Congress as H.R. 866 by the late Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), but was proposed more recently in the 111th as H.R. 1176, S. 478. The bill’s most recent introducing sponsor was Rep. John Kline (R-MN) — the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor. A takeover of the House by the G.O.P. may well result in Rep. Kline’s chairmanship on that committee with oversight of labor legislation.
discussion of the expected legislative bills–including a prohibition against voluntary recognition and a requirement that all employees opt-in to political spending–to be a bit silly, as even if the Republican control both houses, such bills are a dead letter in the near-term (a little thing called "presidential veto" still exists).
I agree with his assessment that the more important — if not, most important — portion of the article is the speculation by former NLRB General Counsel Ronald Meisberg
that if a Republican-controlled House cripples labor-backed legislative efforts to make it easier for workers to unionize, the Democratic-controlled labor board might take administrative steps. Mr. Meisburg, a lawyer at Proskauer Rose, noted that one Democratic labor-board member recently proposed making a change in the timing of workplace elections after employees file a petition to hold a unionization vote, reducing the delay to just five or 10 days. Unions want an accelerated schedule because they say employers have too much time to ply workers with antiunion propaganda, but employers complain that such quick elections would deny employers an adequate opportunity to campaign against unionizing.
The recent activity of the National Labor Relations Board and the President’s early reliance on Executive Orders on labor matters provide ample grounds to suspect greater action via administrative means if the elections produce a split government.