Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutionsby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2015-02-09
McCONNELL. Mr. President, recently the Senate has had a lot of
discussion about partisan overreach. We have talked about an
administration that seems to view democracy as what it can get away
with, not what it can work cooperatively to achieve. It is worrying for
our country, and we keep seeing more examples of it.
Consider the administration's effort to weaken workers' rights. This administration's appointees on the National Labor Relations Board released their so-called ambush rule back in December. It is designed with one purpose in mind: to fatten the wallets of powerful political bosses by weakening the rights of middle-class workers.
Republicans believe a worker has a right to make her own informed choices about joining a union. We don't think powerful political bosses should attempt to make that decision for her, but that is just what this rule aims to achieve. These bosses think they can enrich their own coffers if they can deny workers real opportunities to [[Page S862]] weigh the pros and cons of joining a union. For instance, in an era of stagnant wages, does a worker want to see her paycheck shrink so a political boss can attend more campaign fundraisers? Republicans think that is a choice for the worker to make. Does a worker want to give up her right to demand better pay or a promotion that she deserves and cede those decisions to a distant political organization? Republicans think she has a right to make those choices for herself and she has a right to make them in an informed way, but the administration's ambush rule would dramatically weaken her ability to do so. In many cases it wouldn't even allow her more than a handful of days to weigh the pros and cons of such a costly and important decision. It is really not fair. And it is not just me saying that; consider the words of John F. Kennedy. Here is what he had to say about it. ``There should be at least a 30-day interval'' for union elections, he said. He noted that these 30 days represent a safeguard against ``rushing employees into an election where they are unfamiliar with the issues.'' Kennedy was right.
There is another important issue at stake here too. Just as Republicans think a worker has a right to make her own informed choices, Republicans also think her personal information is none of the business of powerful political bosses. But the administration's ambush rule would allow those bosses to access things such as her email address and cell number without--without--her permission. It also would allow those bosses to track her, to know exactly when and where she is working--again, without her permission. She can't opt out and she can't unsubscribe. This is really chilling. This is really extreme.
What about the men and women who rise early every day to fulfill their dreams, the men and women who provide so many opportunities for others to fulfill theirs? This ambush rule is also aimed at preventing someone with a small business of her own from even having a real conversation with her employees about the cost and the benefits of joining a union. The ambush rule would give extraordinary power to political bosses on the outside, while shutting her voice down--the one person who probably knows more about and cares more about her employees than anyone else. After years spent building a dream and caring about the men and women who helped her get there, this rule is an insult--an insult--to entrepreneurs like her.
Moreover, it is not the men and women on the assembly line who are demanding the ambush rule. There is no demand for this coming up with the workforce in America. So who is demanding it? It is the powerful political bosses who worry that more and more workers are making an informed choice not to join a union. Those bosses are worried about what informed choices could mean for them--less money, less power.
So this far-reaching rule--the so-called Mt. Everest of regulations-- is not the result of the administration seeking out the best policy; it is just another example of the administration seeing what it can get away with. It is a brazen attempt to enrich powerful political friends of the White House by weakening workers' rights. It is not fair for workers, and it is not right for our country.
My good friends the Senators from Tennessee and Wyoming are here on the floor to explain what Congress plans to do to stand up for basic fairness in the workplace. They are going to talk about this latest example of partisan executive overreach--the kind of overreach that is coming to define the Obama administration--and what Congress plans to do next.
Madam President, I see the Senator from Tennessee is on his feet, and I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.