Posts tagged Labor Policy
Pro-Union Advocates Push to Fill NLRB Vacancy for Wrong Reason
August 22, 2023 // Union officials are seemingly concerned her absence will thwart the advancement of a pro-union agenda. As one labor leader lamented, it is “certainly in the interest of the unions … to have a functioning board with good, strong, pro-worker advocates. The NLRB is supposed to make it easier for workers to organize, not harder.” There are two problems with such complaints from union leaders. The first is that being pro-union is not the appropriate role for the NLRB, which is supposed to be neutral, not biased in favor of unions. Yet, it is a common misconception that even President Biden repeated by saying, “the policy of the federal government has been to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining, not to merely allow or tolerate them.” Related National Labor Relations Board Says Profanity in the Workplace Is Just Fine As a recent report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes, “the claim that the NLRA [National Labor Relations Act] was meant to encourage unionization is contrary to the repeated claims of the late Sen. Robert Wagner, a New York Democrat and author of the law.” Instead, the NLRA attempted to strike a balance between providing the right to bargain collectively through a union while at the same time ensuring workers are free not to do so either.
The FTC’s Indefensible Position on Collective Bargaining
April 19, 2023 // In remarks last week at the University of Utah School of Law, FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya argued that independent contractors should be allowed to bargain collectively. He acknowledged that courts have always treated collective bargaining by contractors as illegal under federal antitrust law. But he claimed that these courts have made a mistake: in fact, Congress never meant to stop small contractors, like truckers or plumbers, from forming a union and bargaining together. Bedoya’s interpretation would upset a century of careful balancing between antitrust and labor policy. It would also expose the contractors themselves to serious risks of abuse. And it would undermine well-established rules against collusion, price fixing, and other restraints on trade. To see why Bedoya is so wrong, you have to understand labor law and antitrust law’s tangled history. Let’s start with section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Adopted in 1890, section 1 banned all contracts and conspiracies in restraint of trade. It did not, however, define trade restraints. Instead, it incorporated common-law standards. Under the common law, unions were treated no differently from any other combination of buyers or sellers. If they conspired to fix labor prices, they violated the law. And collective bargaining could be seen as one form of price fixing. As a result, the law sometimes treated unions as, essentially, labor cartels.
Video: ALEC’s Labor of Love: A History of Championing Worker Freedom
March 10, 2023 // Today, ALEC debuts its first episode, “Worker Freedom,” in our 50th anniversary video series. The episode features ALEC champions Scott Walker (45th Governor of Wisconsin), Matt Hall (Michigan House Minority Leader and ALEC Board of Directors Member), and Vinnie Vernuccio (Senior Fellow, Mackinac Center), discussing ALEC’s pivotal role in securing Worker Freedom policy wins across the states. In some states, private sector workers can be forced to join, leave, or pay fees to a union as job requirement. The Right-to-Work Act, which ALEC task forces approved as a model policy, provides a solution to this issue. It prevents private employers from requiring or banning union membership (or fees) as conditions for employment, giving workers in Right-to-Work states a guaranteed right to support a union or not to support a union without this choice affecting their hiring or job security.
The NLRB Adds to its Amazon Antics
March 24, 2022 // Despite its ostensible role as a neutral arbiter, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has a penchant for tilting the field in favor of labor unions depending on who is running the agency. Its most recent shenanigan involving the retail giant Amazon—a curiously-timed court petition— is an unfortunate example of this phenomenon.
Labor 101, F. Vincent Vernuccio will walk you through everything you need to know about labor.
March 12, 2022 // LABOR 101: In this tutorial video produced by Mackinac Center and Workers for Opportunity, F. Vincent Vernuccio gives a brief overview of labor policy, how to protect workers, and ideas to advance worker freedom.