SPFPA Speaks Out at NLRB Congressional Hearing

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), member Hayes dissenting, proposed reforms of the procedures it follows prior and subsequent to conducting a secret ballot election to determine if employees wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining. The proposed amendments are intended to reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing.

The NLRB held its Congressional Hearing whereby more than 60 speakers from the business, labor, academic and advocacy communities were invited to offer their thoughts to Board members about the proposed changes, which are intended to streamline and standardize the election process.
One of the participants invited to share its views at this historic event was the International Union, Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).

Laying the groundwork on why these proposed changes were needed, it was explained to the Board that over the last 10 years, SPFPA has filed hundreds of representation petitions, averaging about 100 campaign elections per year. Statistically, SPFPA has been listed by BNA year after year as one of the top 15 most active organizing unions in the United States today.
BNA has also recognized us as being one of the top five unions in the country in regards to the number of campaigns run and the number of workers successfully organized, averaging about 3,000 to 4,000 members per year. In addition to these achievements, the SPFPA Organizing Department has the highest win rate amongst all unions, a 78 percent win rate, a record we should all be proud of.

In calling for the proposed changes on behalf of the SPFPA International Union, our members and our future members, I outlined a number of issues which also needed to be addressed in addition to the proposed amendments to strengthen the rights of workers everywhere. These proposed changes included:

Shortenings the election process from 42 days to 21 days.

Making it illegal to hold mandatory union-busting meetings without allowing equal access so that both sides can be heard.

Authorizing civil penalties up to $20,000 per violation on an NLRB finding of willful and repeated violation of employees’ statutory rights by an employer or union during a union campaign.

Authorizing the NLRB to order back pay without  reduction for mitigation when an employee is unlawfully fired.

Requiring both the union and management to begin negotiations within 21 days after a union is certified. If there is no agreement after 120 days from the first meeting, either party may call for mediation by the Federal Mediation and Consolidation Service (FMCS) and binding arbitration thereafter if need be.

On finding that a party is not negotiating in good faith, an order may be issued establishing a schedule for negotiation and imposing costs and attorney fees.

Broaden the provisions for injunctive relief with reasonable attorney fees on a finding that either party is not acting in good faith.

The NLRB has periodically reviewed and revised its procedures in representation cases in order to efficiently carry out its duties under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Since the NLRA was enacted in 1935, the NLRB has amended its representation case rules at least three dozen times, often in substantial ways.  The proposed reforms represent the Board’s latest effort to improve its service to the public.

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