Colorado Capitol Report

The Colorado Chamber Protests Efforts by Federal National Labor Relations Board to Further Union Interests

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Federal Policy News

CACI Protests Efforts by Federal National Labor Relations Board to Further Union Interests

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on May 2nd sent out the following email to its members.  CACI is the official NAM state affiliate.

This week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) invited interested parties to address issues concerning the use of company/employer email regarding union organization activity and collective bargaining purposes in the case Purple Communications, Inc. v. Communications Workers of American, AFL-CIO.  In 2007, the NLRB held in Register Guard that “employees have no statutory right to use the Employer’s e-mail system for Section 7 purposes.”  This has been the standard since then, but now that is being called into question.

In October 2013, an Administrative Law Judge dismissed the NLRB’s General Counsel’s allegation against Purple Communications that the company was violating the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining a policy which prohibits the personal use of the company’s electronic equipment and systems.  The General Counsel and the CWA have now asked the NLRB to overrule the Register Guard case and adopt a rule that “employees who are permitted to use their employer’s email for work purposes have the right to use it for union organization and collective bargaining activity.

Chairman Pearce has expressed his disagreement with the standard applied in the Register Guard case, so in not so surprising of a move, but nonetheless a disturbing one, the NLRB asks those interested to submit amicus briefs, on or before June 16, addressing a series of questions, not to exceed 25 pages.  You can find the announcement and more detailed information here.  The NAM will be filing a brief in response to this request and in opposition to overturning the Register Guard case.

Yesterday, CACI President Chuck Berry and CACI Board of Directors Chair Lou Hutchison signed the following letter to NLRB Board Chair Mark Gaston Pearce:

 May 15, 2014

Mark Gaston Pearce
Chairman, National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20570-0001

Dear Chairman Pearce and Board:

As the CEO and Chairman of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry’s (CACI) Board, we are gravely concerned about the direction the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is taking in administering the National Labor Relations Act.  Especially at a time when our economy is beginning to show signs of life, adding uncertainty to the markets by allowing so-called “ambush elections”, reconsidering the Register Guard decision and adding to the burdens of Excelsior lists will only drag our economy backward.

For background, CACI is both Colorado’s State Chamber of Commerce, as well as the statewide representative for our manufacturing industry, which means we represent and balance a full range of businesses, employers and employee interests.  As an association we work hard to ensure our state has a thriving economy, where businesses are members of the community and employees are more often partners in innovation than at odds over work environment.

Through CACI, we ensure workers have more opportunities to grow with Colorado’s evolving high-tech and aerospace fields, as well as keeping pace with the healthcare, telecommunications, tourism and energy industries.  That is why we have critical concerns when matters proposed and considered by the NLRB appear to be less about employee well-being and more about a union solution in search of a problem.

However, this letter is about more than just issues being reviewed by the NLRB – it is about ensuring our country continues to recover so businesses can ensure people have good jobs to go to every day.  We believe the following NLRB issues are being considered to the detriment of U.S. businesses:

  • “Ambush Elections”:  Union elections currently take an average of 35 – 38 days, but unions can target workers for a year or more prior to filing to unionize.  On the other hand, businesses only have a matter of days to educate their workers about the pros and cons of unionizing.  It is unacceptable that a proposal before the NLRB would ambush businesses by reducing union election times – and the time for businesses to talk with employees –  to as little as 10 days.
  • Privacy Concerns & Excelsior Burdens:  Proposed Excelsior changes would be a blatant invasion of employee privacy, not to mention increasing burdens on businesses without any benefit to employees.  Requiring cell phone numbers, home addresses, personal email addresses and employee schedules be given to unions, regardless of whether an employee is interested in unionizing, crosses a line from assisting union activities to that of targeting, harassment and extreme invasion of privacy.  No other government agency requires information to this extent and neither should the NLRB.
  • Register Guard Review:  Businesses provide employees tools for success and empower employees to do their jobs well.  However, employer-sponsored email platforms are the property of that company and are solely meant to facilitate employees’ roles.  Allowing employer emails to be used for union purposes is tantamount to requiring business endorsement of union activities– and is simply another overreach and threat to the well-being of businesses.

While CACI opposes the above three issues, our mission is to develop a strong environment for business investment and growth.  With our mission come respectable, reliable jobs.  Therefore, CACI calls on the NLRB to consider the position of Colorado employers, keeping the welfare of our nation’s economic recovery and job creators in mind –  in turn, we can continue providing good jobs for Colorado and our nation’s workers.  We welcome your thoughts on this letter and encourage an open dialogue on this and other labor matters.

For more information on the NLRB’s actions, read:

Committee Examines NLRB Ambush Election Rule,” Education and the Workforce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, March 5th.

For more information on these issues, contact Leah Curtsinger, CACI State and Federal Policy Representative, at 303.866.9641.

State Policy News

Protecting Employees from Summer Workplace Hazards

Summer in Colorado presents its own distinct workplace safety challenges. Since the sun is almost a mile or more closer to us than it is in many other states, the sun can be especially hazardous to the health of employees. Many workers, especially those who work outside, are at risk for injuries ranging from severe sunburn to heat exhaustion. It’s important for CACI members and their workers to understand and protect themselves from summer hazards. By learning the basics and taking a few simple precautions, individuals can work to stay safe from heat-related injuries and illnesses this summer.  Click here to find out more!

CACI Congratulates the Winners of the 2013 CCCE Achievement Awards

On May 8th CACI recognized local chambers for their achievements in 2013 at the Colorado Chamber of Commerce Executives (CCCE) Conference in Broomfield.

The winners for Largest Increase in Dues Revenue were: Third Place–Basalt Chamber of Commerce with an increase of 3.9 percent, Second Place–Vail Valley Partnership with an increase of 11.6 percent and the First Place winner was the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) with an increase of 16.4 percent.

The winners of the Largest Increase in Membership were: Third Place–Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce with an increase of 7.7 percent, Second Place went to the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce with an increase of 8.43 percent and the First Place Winner with an incredible increase of 17 percent was the Vail Valley Partnership.

The Largest Fundraiser Award went to the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce for its “Top 25 Gala: Recognizing Limitless Leaders.”  This event honors women who have gone above and beyond and become powerful leaders in business and in the community.  The award is judged on the net profit from the event.

The last and most prestigious award of the evening, Colorado Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive of the Year, went to Donna Evans, President and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber.  CWCC Board Chair Lauri Brammeier describes Donna thusly, “She is a creative and dynamic leader who wholeheartedly embraces the mission and vision of the organization and demonstrates her commitment with every interaction, whether on stage or in casual conversation with members and prospective members.”

CACI would like to congratulate all the winners!

News Media Coverage

Below is recent news-media coverage of business, political, policy and governmental issues of interest to CACI:

Senate: Less contentious than last year,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, May 16th.

House: More productive than partisan,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, May 16th.

Business sidestepped trouble during legislative session,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 16th.

Hickenlooper signs two tax-credit bills into law,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 16th,

No consensus seen in Colorado’s oil & gas talks to avoid Polis-backed ballot measures,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 15th.

Colorado’s local control compromise effort remains a steep climb,” by Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, May 15th.

Colorado energy measures expected to attract big names, deep pockets,” by Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post, May 12th.

Local control efforts moving ahead for now,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, May 9th.

Turmoil in Democrats’ own caucus,” by Peter Marcus, The Colorado Statesman, May 9th.

Colorado slips in ranking of best states for business,” by L. Wayne Hicks, The Denver Business Journal, May 9th.

2014 Colorado legislature’s winners and losers,” by The Denver Post Editorial Board, May 9th.

How business fared at the Capitol,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 9th.

Energy issues loomed large during Colorado 2014 legislative session” by Cathy Proctor, The Denver Business Journal, May 8th.

Hickenlooper sees 50-50 chance of special session on local control,” by Anthony Cotton, The Denver Post, May 8th.

Colorado passes 11 business tax-credit bills.  But why?”  Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, May 8th.

Proposed oil and gas ballot measures are ‘stupid,’ former Colorado Gov. Romer says,” by Cathy proctor, The Denver Business Journal, May 8th.