Increasing elections and unionization in the private sector calls for more funding for the NLRB
Updated: Apr 29, 2022
The National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) budget has not been significantly increased for decades. With the current rate of unionization in the private sector - and particularly among food service, retail and warehouse workers (Starbucks and Amazon, being heavily in the news) - additional funding for the NLRB must be authorized. The NLRB oversees the card check and elections process for private sector workers seeking to unionize. They are also responsible for addressing unfair labor practice complaints of retaliation and other wrongful conduct by owners and managers that often accompanies these election campaigns. In order for the NLRB to fully meet its obligations to workers seeking the strength and protection of a union, it must have the funds to hire additional Board Agents to oversee this important process.
Why do owners and managers of huge, massively profitable companies like Amazon, Starbucks and Tesla fight so hard against unionizing campaigns and elections? Because unionized workers make a living wage and demand benefits and safer working conditions - this all "costs" the company and reduces shareholder earnings ("profits"). These huge companies can all afford to pay their workers more (and do pay them more in other countries that require higher wages be paid), but they fight unionization because their single goal, or at least the goal that is most important to them, is making as much money as possible.
It is through the power of organizing and collective action that workers can demand a seat at the table and bargain for a larger slice of the profits to be spent on their wages, benefits and safer working conditions. That is why these elections matter so much. I am hoping to see more funding for the NLRB and an expanded staff of Board Agents to help support these workers so that the momentum behind their organizing efforts does not weaken or falter.