For three years now, workers fighting for a union have used rules established by the National Labor Relations Board during the Obama years that streamlined the union election process, making it more transparent and timely.
Corporations and business groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have tried but failed to roll back the rules, calling them unfair to employers. Now President Trump's appointees to the NLRB appear to be preparing to rescind the reforms made during the Obama administration, and they could try to make it even more difficult for workers to vote in union elections.
But before the Trump NLRB appointees make any changes, they’ve asked the public to weigh in. And weigh in, they did: More than 10,000 AFT activists wrote in, urging the NLRB to leave the rules in place.
Here's what some of them had to say:
"Organized labor provides a strong voice to those who work in a reliable and professional manner to provide our economy with quality goods and services. For almost a century, the NLRB has acted to ensure every member of a labor organization has representation by regulating election procedures for those organizations. The current proposals to impose impediments to the union election process are an assault on workers' rights and an imposition that erodes our democratic rights and institutions. Union elections need to be fair and open to all who are interested in participating. Additional restrictions on this process are un-American and pose a dangerous threat to the liberty of our nation and its workers."
—Gregory Bronson, New York
"America was never stronger than when unions had a bigger voice."
—Timothy Barr, Virginia
"The function of the NLRB is NOT to protect employers! Any attempts by employers to inhibit or discourage free elections by workers MUST be opposed and eliminated."
—Barbara Kaye, California
"As a former educator, I always belonged to our union. It was invaluable in supporting our rights as teachers and in other roles we played in the school. I have taught in both middle and high schools, served as Title I Coordinator and as a GEAR UP Project Director. I was also an active union member, having belonged to both AFT and NEA at various periods during my tenure. It is extremely important to have these forums."
—Anna Eleftheriou, California
"It should be easier, not harder, for workers to have a voice on the job. The National Labor Relations Board was formed/created to work for the people of the United States, not for Mr. Trump's or corporate agendas. So support unions, don't destroy them, for they are what created and sustained the middle class. There's not enough time in the day—of a teacher, for instance (like I was)—for every single worker to speak individually to the superintendent to improve working conditions, get supplies, voice concerns, etc. That is why unions formed, it's why we have them. Please strengthen them; don't weaken or destroy them."
—Carole Chi, Michigan
"Employees should be able to vote yes or no after hearing both sides of the argument in a timely manner. Very few companies have their employees' interests at the top of their lists. Employers should not be able to stall, prevent, or coerce votes."
—Sally Dyson, New York