Leveling the Playing Field and Fighting Union-Exemptions

Date: June 13, 2018

In conjunction with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, NFIB filed a lawsuit in May 2018, challenging a paid sick leave ordinance in Austin, Texas. The lawsuit argues that it is improper for the City to exempt union shops with collective bargaining agreements. Indeed, it makes little sense to say that there is a compelling need for regulation if the government is carving-out exceptions for unionized companies.

But Austin is not alone. We’ve seen similar enactments elsewhere. For example, New York City recently enacted an ordinance, imposing different bonding requirements for union and non-union car wash companies. Non-union shops must obtain a $150,000 bond, while unionized companies only need a $30,000 bond. But as we argued in a recent amicus brief in Association of Car Wash Owners v. City of New York, this regime violates the National Labor Relations Act.

For one, employers have a right to resist unionization. They also have a right to refuse a collective bargaining agreement. And the law should not penalize an employer for exercising those rights. But that’s precisely what happens with this sort of regime when the government places its thumb on the scales to give labor an advantage in unionization campaigns or in the collective bargaining process.

Simply put, there are serious legal problems with state and local enactments that impose one standard for non-union companies and another for union shops. We intend to continue fighting on this issue both in Texas, and across the country because these enactments are simply unfair. Indeed, government cannot hold a company’s rights hostage by requiring submission to a collective bargaining agreement.

Related Content: Legal - Blog | Labor

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