Pushing Back on Bad Labor Policies

Tracy Mulqueen
Publisher, FEDA News & Views
CEO, FEDA
tracy@feda.com

Most FEDA member companies began as family-owned businesses that over time achieved success through ability, hard work and taking care of their people. No matter how much dealerships have grown in terms of sales or employee numbers, they still operate this way today, as indicated by the industry’s long employee tenure, strong workplace participation and employee satisfaction.

However, in the last several years, labor groups and activist organizations, backed by the full force of the current presidential administration and federal agencies, have increasingly assailed our members and other companies across the United States as working against their own employees – the very opposite of how any successful business operates. In fact, FEDA companies have led meaningful workplace transformations – such as training and advancement and competitive wages and benefits – that positively impacted their workplace cultures and the development of mutually beneficial employee-employer relationships.

The negative rhetoric these groups are using, combined with a perfect storm of society-shaking situations – the workplace disruptions caused by COVID-19, the resulting economic chaos and the conflict in Ukraine – is fueling a carefully executed nationwide strategy to push through overreaching union organizing policies at every level of government. These groups are taking full advantage of employee and public anxiety to advance their agenda.

Unable to move these policies forward through last year’s failed PRO Act, which sought to erase a century of balance between employers and employees with proposals like the prohibition of arbitration agreements in employment contracts and the expansion of power for the National Labor Relations Board to impose union Pushing Back on Bad Labor Policies representation without an election, union activists are now attaching major portions of the bill to unrelated congressional legislation. Other rejected aspects are being incorporated into federal regulations that have little time for public input before implementation. For example, major business groups are carefully tracking the development of the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), approved by the Senate in March 2022, to make sure add-on policies that hurt employers are removed in the next steps of the legislative process. As the U.S. Chamber says, while the USICA would enhance American competitiveness in global markets, it currently includes unrelated “add-on solar energy provisions that would implement the controversial ‘card check’ fast track union organizing process and binding first contract arbitration of the PRO Act.”

In response to the radical overhauls posed by the spreading provisions of the PRO Act, business-friendly legislators are backing the Employee Rights Act, which aims to protect workers from high-pressure and unfair union organizing and other activities. Among other things, the act:

  • Requires secret ballot elections to determine union representation;
  • Changes the majority for a union certification election to include all affected employees;
  • Permits employees not to provide personal information to union organizers; and
  • Criminalizes union threats and violence.

FEDA members may find detailed information on all these bills on feda.com under Advocacy and Take Action. Also, we ask that you please contact your U.S. senators and representatives to ensure they understand businesses are already looking out for their employees and that the inclusion of PRO Act provisions into other legislation will only prevent companies from fully recovering and supporting their employees, communities and the economy.