House Uncovers Widespread Government ‘Misconduct’ In Union Elections

A recent report released by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unveiled concerning findings regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) mismanagement of union elections. The report suggests that since the NLRB’s decision in November 2020 to expand the use of mail ballots for union elections, there has been a surge in mismanagement, misconduct, and procedural irregularities within the agency.

The NLRB’s move to allow regional directors to order mail ballot elections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a decline in voter turnout coupled with a rise in both institutional issues, such as employee interference, and integrity issues, including inappropriate voter solicitation and the mishandling of ballots, as outlined in the report.

The investigation, prompted by a former NLRB employee’s cooperation with the committee, uncovered instances spanning 15 different NLRB regions and 33 representation cases, highlighting the extent of the problem.

Committee Chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) expressed grave concerns over the NLRB’s handling of mail ballot elections, stating that the agency’s actions have compromised the integrity of the once gold standard of secret ballot elections. Foxx attributed these issues to the NLRB’s expansion of its authority and administrative changes, which empowered regional directors but alienated voters.

Among the cases cited in the report is one involving an NLRB official in Buffalo, New York, who allegedly allowed voters to hand-deliver their ballots, violating election agreements. Another case in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, revealed an NLRB agent offering to deliver a ballot in person, potentially leading to prohibited conversations that could sway votes.

The committee’s efforts to obtain information from the NLRB faced delays, with the agency’s initial response in October 2022 deemed inadequate. However, subsequent disclosures in August 2023 shed light on the extent of the problem.

Furthermore, internal emails indicated instances of ballot tampering and mismanagement, such as changing ballot numbers and sending ballots to ineligible voters, as highlighted by the committee.

These revelations come amidst heightened scrutiny of the NLRB’s practices, with a separate report by the Inspector General detailing gross mismanagement in a union election at Starbucks. The NLRB’s actions have drawn criticism, with accusations of colluding with unions, particularly following a judge’s ruling against Amazon’s CEO for violating labor laws.

The NLRB’s actions, emboldened under the Biden administration’s pro-union stance, raise questions about the agency’s ability to uphold fair and transparent union elections.

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