Montana AFL-CIO Condemns Elements of Senator Daines’ Letter

RELEASE: Montana AFL-CIO Condemns Elements of Senator Daines’ Letter

“Elements of Senator Daines’ recent letter to President-elect Trump are beyond disturbing.”

(HELENA, MONTANA) – As reported by numerous news outlets, Senator Daines has sent a letter to President-elect Trump. Elements of the letter are being condemned by Labor Leaders as an unhinged attack on workers’ rights. Specific examples can be found below.

In response to the letter, Al Ekblad, Executive Secretary of the Montana AFL-CIO released the following statement: 

Elements of Senator Daines’ recent letter to President-elect Trump are beyond disturbing. The letter includes an all-out assault on the rights of working American men and women. Throughout his letter, Senator Daines reveals his true anti-worker agenda by demanding President-elect Trump reverse numerous National Labor Relations Board decisions that benefit working Americans. 

Specifically, Senator Daines is calling on the next President to eliminate the Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule, which will result in the loss of $570 million in wages in 2017 and $2.6 billion between 2017 and 2022. Hardworking Americans deserve to be paid for their work. Senator Daines disagrees.

Senator Daines also believes that mega-corporations should be allowed to pay their employees poverty-level wages and that you and I, the taxpayers, should continue to foot the bill for social services, while those same corporations make larger and larger profits.

Senator Daines’ even opposes protecting the rights of American Indian workers.

Ekblad continued by addressing Senator Daines directly:

We are honestly baffled by your letter, Senator Daines’. Your letter demonstrates a blatant disregard for and exploitation of workers in favor of large corporations. Who do you represent? The working people of Montana or the deep-pocketed lobbyists working for America’s greediest companies?

Please find the anti-worker excerpts from Senator Daines’ letter refuted here:

•         Exempt Indian tribes from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

THE TRUTH: This is nothing more than a veiled attempt to silence the voices of working people. The AFL-CIO and the Montana AFL-CIO believes in both tribal sovereignty and worker solidarity. We don’t have to choose. This is a union-busting policy. 

•         Reverse the NLRB ruling in Specialty Healthcare and Rehab. Ctr. of Mobile.

THE TRUTH: The Courts ruled that workers, not employers, have the right to decide with whom they wish to take collective action and that the Board was correct in preventing employer tactics that undercut workers’ rights to collectively bargain by diluting union support in a larger unit. While it’s difficult to speculate about motives in a specific case, employers often attempt to force more employees into a potential bargaining unit in hopes that the bigger group would be more likely to vote against forming a union.

•         Rescind the NLRB final rule on Representation-Case Procedures. 

THE TRUTH: The Montana AFL-CIO applauds the National Labor Relations Board for proposing these common-sense rules to reduce delay in the NLRB election process.  

Similar rules were adopted by the NLRB more than two years ago after an exhaustive public rulemaking process. The rules were needed then, and they are still needed now.

When workers petition for an NLRB election, they should receive a timely opportunity to vote. But the current NLRB election process is riddled with delay and provides too many opportunities for employers to manipulate and drag out the process through costly and unnecessary litigation and deny workers a vote.

These rules are an important step in the right direction and will help improve the election process.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) adopted a final rule that would alleviate the delays, inefficiencies, abuse of process and unnecessary litigation that plague the current system for workers who want to vote on whether to have a union.

NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce said the amendments to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) would modernize the representation case process and “fulfill the promise” of the NLRA. He also said, “Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.”

•         Reverse the NLRB Browning-Ferris decision of August 27, 2015.

THE TRUTH: Working people won a significant victory when the National Labor Relations Board issued the Browning-Ferris decision and increased employer accountability for wages and work conditions. As with most rulings issued by government bodies.

Working people form unions because they want to bargain with their employers over improvements in the workplace. If employers are able to manipulate the system and avoid bargaining, by hiring temporary employees or contractor employees, for example, this undermines working people’s ability to organize and bargain. So the decision makes it more possible for working people to organize and bargain with the employer that has authority to control the terms of their employment.

·         Eliminate the Department of Labor Overtime Rule.

THE TRUTH: Workers should not shoulder the burden of a weak economy without extra pay.

First, when an employer insists on long hours per week, workers lose out on time they could be spending with their family, on parenting, going to school or leisure time. Last year, The Wall Street Journal recognized that while productivity gains were on the rise, companies were keeping most of them for themselves: they gave their super-productive employees only 6 percent of the gains, which translates to a 0.3 percent increase in wages.

Second, stretching workers’ hours to cover for laid-off colleagues without paying overtime decreases the employer’s incentive to hire more people. This is especially relevant during periods of high unemployment.

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