After New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez’s late March de facto “Right-to-Work” pledge, the floodgates opened with anti-union forces across the state ginning up efforts to beat back anything pro-worker anywhere they can. Among those laying on the thick anti-union rhetoric is Roxanne Rivera-Wiest, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors of NM. Rivera-Wiest recently came out against an NLRB rule change that would streamline the union election process. In an op-ed she labels the rules “unfair” and “unnecessary” and ties the idea to President Obama and ‘big labor.”
In response, NM Rep. Christine Trujillo wrote an op-ed of her own pointing out that Ms. Rivera-Wiest ignores the effects the NLRB rule change would have on protecting workers from intimidation. As Trujillo puts it, “Rivera-Wiest badly misrepresents the NLRB’s rule change and is misinformed or simply unaware of the types of employee intimidation that the NLRB’s streamlining aims to stop.”
Trujillo, who formerly served as the head of the American Federation of Teachers in NM, went on to describe the ways management would intimidate workers without proper protections:
A study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University found that instances of employees having to attend mandatory meetings, workers being discharged, one-on-one meetings with supervisors, threats of lost wages and benefits, discharge of workers for union activity, threats of plant closings and other intimidation tactics rose the more time there was between an NLRB petition being filed and the election.
It’s ironic that Rivera-Wiest claims to be concerned about due process, employee free speech, workplace rights or even employee privacy, and yet opposes the NLRB’s proposed streamlining, when the rule changes would safeguard the democratic process at the work site.
Trujillo pulls no punches in conclusion, suggesting that those who oppose the rule change are likely those who wish to intimidate workers during union elections. Trujillo takes Rivera-Wiest to task:
I believe that she opposes the rule changes because if they were adopted, it would be more difficult for anti-labor organizations like the ABC of NM, the National Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and other anti-labor groups to intimidate workers during an NLRB election.
Rivera-Wiest calls the NLRB’s proposed streamlining “outrageous.” It isn’t outrageous; it’s overdue.