National Labor Relations Boardby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2015-03-04
REID. Mr. President, most of the issues that come before this
body are complex and nuanced. Rarely are we faced with simple issues.
But today we have a very simple, clear-cut issue before us. It is as
straightforward and clear-cut as any one question could be. Do you
support American workers or do you not support American workers?
Under our law, workers have the right to unionize and have their
voices heard in the workplace. Through elections, workers choose for
themselves whether to form a union.
Last year the National Labor Relations Board took important steps to modernize and streamline union election procedures--commonsense, simple advancements. Rule changes are good for workers and good for businesses.
This whole fight isn't about business versus workers. We would have to search long and hard to find a business that opposes what the NLRB did. It is all the anti-union rhetoric of the Republicans here in the Senate.
The reform that the NLRB pushed forward allows employers and unions to file forms electronically--kind of the modern world in which we all live. It also allows communications with workers by email and cell phone--pretty reasonable, it sounds like to me. Yet today Senate Republicans are trying to roll back rule changes instituted by the NLRB.
Later this afternoon we will vote on a resolution of disapproval to undo these commonsense reforms. Republicans think they are striking a blow against labor unions with votes like today's, but what they are really doing is undermining American families.
American workers and their families have come to rely on many of the benefits provided by collective bargaining: higher wages, safe working conditions, decent health care. It is no surprise that some of the most prosperous times in American history--namely, the middle 20th century-- came about in times of record union membership. Even today in my home State of Nevada, unions protect wages for casino employees on the Las Vegas Strip, up at Lake Tahoe, and all over the State. We ensure through the unions safe working conditions--certainly for miners in Elko and around the State--and also, with rare exception, quality health coverage for educators statewide.
So I want to be very clear. This is about whom the Republicans really are attacking, and it is the middle class. Each time Republicans throw roadblocks for workers to organize, they are weakening the middle class.
I support American families. I support American workers. I support the middle class. Senate Democrats support the middle class. We do not support this Republican attack on unions. We will vigorously fight any attempt to weaken worker protections, including today's resolution vote.