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Op-Ed: Labor nominee would negatively impact employers and workers

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was always meant to be an independent federal agency responsible for enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to conduct unionization elections impartially, and to remedy unfair labor practices, whether they are committed by employers or unions. But the NLRB’s renomination of partisan board member Gwynne Wilcox would harm employers and workers, and the U.S. economy certainly would be worse for it.

Wilcox was a pro-union labor attorney and has a history of representing unions before the NLRB, which raises serious concerns about her conflicts of interest and impartiality. Notably, as an advocate for the “Fight for $15” organization and a SEIU local union, Wilcox pushed for franchisors to be held jointly liable for a franchisees’ employees and now has say over those rules at the Board.

Furthermore, Wilcox’s involvement with organizations such as the Worker’s Defense League, which was born out of the Socialist Party of America, and Brandworkers International, which is affiliated with a fringe socialist labor union, tells us all we need to know about her ideological alignment. Former Senator Richard Burr expressed concern over Wilcox’s participation in a project that labeled the American free enterprise system as “the primary threat to the viability of American democracy.”

Clearly, employers and workers alike have reason to object to the Wilcox nomination. There is a lot at stake. Gwynne Wilcox and the Democrat majority have shown clear favor for union interests over employer rights, often at the expense of workers themselves.

For instance, labor unions and some NLRB bureaucrats want to revoke the traditional free speech rights of employers. For 75 years, the NLRA has protected employers’ first amendment rights to speak against unionization or a specific union election, provided that speech is non-coercive. Often, employers provide workers with vital information during a union election that union organizers deliberately conceal from them. Receiving input from both sides of a debate is a hallmark of our democratic system, and it helps workers make a rational, informed choice. With Wilcox on the Board, this right is at risk.

As noted, the joint employer standard is in front of the NLRB. Wilcox and the Board’s Democrat majority appear likely to heed their union interests and return to the failed Obama-era rules. Wilcox is obviously conflicted, but has failed to recuse herself from this active rulemaking despite over a dozen members of Congress asking her to step aside.

Wilcox’s support for unions doesn’t go unheralded. Union organizers have praised her and the Board for a recent decision that could make it harder to be an independent contractor or freelancer.

Given the implications of Gwynne Wilcox’s tenure on the NLRB, it is crucial for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to voice her opposition to this renomination. The confirmation of an ideologically driven nominee would further compromise the NLRB’s role as a fair and unbiased entity, ultimately impacting both employers and workers. It is imperative to safeguard the integrity of the NLRB and ensure that it returns to serving as an impartial arbiter for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.

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