Obama Labor Appointees Deliver

It is understood that the President of the United States has the constitutional authority to appoint cabinet members and key officials to federal agencies. What is sometimes overlooked is the importance that the appointees play in protecting and expanding our rights in the workplace.

 DOL/NLRB decisions help workers

For instance, the US Department of Labor under President Obama has taken strong action to expand overtime rights, improve safety rules, require union busters to report their activities, increase the minimum wage for federal contractor employees, crack down on employers that misclassify employees as independent contractors, and expand and improve support for union-sponsored apprenticeship programs.uwuamag_spring2016_obamalabor_quote

The National Labor Relations Board enforces the federal labor law that affects most UWUA members’ rights in the workplace. President Obama’s NLRB appointees have streamlined the union election process, expanded the types of employees that can unionize, put teeth into remedies for employers that commit unfair labor practices, and protected and expanded worker rights in both union and nonunion workplaces. These important legal changes have a real impact on UWUA members.

Under President Obama, the UWUA and other unions have played an important role in making sure the people that ll vital positions support workers’ rights and the enforcement of labor laws.

Recently, Local 223 led two election petitions for employees at DTE Energy. The company challenged the eligibility of the employees to unionize, claiming they were supervisors. The NLRB, using Obama board case law, rejected the company’s claims of supervisory status. Local 223 won both elections overwhelmingly.

UWUA Local 118 won the first reelection under the Obama board’s new streamlined election rules, which make it harder for employers to run lengthy union busting campaigns. Local 118 credited the new rules with helping win that election. The rules simplify and streamline the election process, which has so often been subverted by employers who are against workers organizing themselves into a union. The changes include E-Filed documents by all parties, making the time for the election process much quicker.

A seat at the table

When the union has a seat at the table, members win. Of course, the opposite is true when anti-worker politicians are elected into office. Potent examples of the devastation caused by anti-worker politicians is apparent in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

In this year’s election cycle, there will be clear choices. Some candidates will support protecting and expanding worker rights and others will look to decimate those rights. The outcome of the election will have a direct impact on UWUA members, their families and the union. It is important we keep those issues at the forefront when evaluating candidates.