Webinar Reviews Pro-Worker Changes at Labor Board

June 14, 2024

On Tuesday, June 11, the pro-worker think tank Economic Policy Institute held a webinar titled “Organizing, Collective Action, and the National Labor Relations Board,” which discussed recent developments at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and their impacts on worker organizing.

NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo led off the webinar by emphasizing that the National Labor Relations Act, the federal law passed in 1935 which the NLRB is tasked with enforcing, states that it is the policy of the U.S. to encourage, not merely regulate, collective bargaining. “We enforce a pro-worker statute that attempts to equalize the power dynamic — in essence level the playing field — between employees and their employers,” Abruzzo explained.

Abruzzo outlined one of the most significant decisions the NLRB has made under the Biden administration: the Cemex decision. She explained that in the past, when employers committed unfair labor practices during a union election, the board would simply set aside the election results — forcing the workers, if they want to join the union, to go through the whole gauntlet again. In Cemex, the board has indicated that if the union has demonstrated majority support and requested that the employer recognize the union on that basis, and the employer then commits unfair labor practices, the board will issue a bargaining order, compelling the employer to bargain with the union.

Abruzzo’s remarks were followed by a panel which included an Apple store worker who described the heavy-handed intimidation she and her co-workers faced when they tried to form a union, Cindy Estrada of the AFL-CIO, and Lynn Rhinehart, Senior Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute. The discussion was moderated by former Communication Workers of America president Larry Cohen, who addressed UE’s 2017 convention. A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube.


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