Anyway, a potentially larger story is nearly hidden in the closing paragraphs. Several articles linked to in the story report on the fact that the NLRB has been under assault for decades by mainly Republicans, in an attempt to undermine their abilities to enforce labor law and to protect unionization. In the latest development, the Supreme Court ruled last year that the NLRB needed at least 3 members on its board in order to be operational. Due to Republican filibusters in the Senate to prevent voting on new members to the board, Obama has had to make emergency appointments in order to keep the board active. After one member's term is up on December 31, there will not be enough members on the board for its rulings to be valid. The potential of this is huge. As the New York Times points out in an op-ed,
Workers illegally fired for union organizing won’t be reinstated with back pay. Employers will be able to get away with interfering with union elections. Perhaps most important, employers won’t have to recognize unions despite a majority vote by workers. Without the board to enforce labor law, most companies will not voluntarily deal with unions.
Do not take this to mean that I am strictly pro-union. I have my own issues with them, probably the biggest being that their missions to raise wages and benefits for its members, noble as they undoubtedly are, are going to be unrealistic in the new world that we are slowly waking up to. Peak Everything will affect everyone, and a rising standard of living for union members will no longer be possible, like it was in the mid to late 20th century. But they are a bulwark for workers, sometimes a shitty bulwark, but a bulwark nonetheless. I have read and seen countless corporate propaganda over the years, stating that employees don't need unions, that the businesses have an "open-door" policy, that they look out for their workers. And I can tell you that it's bullshit. The only goal for business is to make money. They couldn't give two shits about their employees. Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now. Anyway, I think the best objective for unions, rather than aiming for a higher standard of living for its members, is to protect them from arbitrary actions by their employers, and to ensure that the upper echelons of management aren't being rewarded with wheelbarrows of cash and company cars while the rank-and-file get nothing.