STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: First to Washington. Now, what’s the priority? A debt deal? No. Putting union elections on the fast track, that is what.
Welcome, everyone. I am Stuart Varney, here for Neil Cavuto. This is "Your World."
And critics are calling it the biggest job threat facing companies right now, day one of that hearing by the National Labor Relations Board wrapping up as we speak. The board wants to speed up union elections from the current 38-day average to 10-days.
Former Verizon Wireless chief Denny Strigl says it would eliminate employers’ rights to fight off unions, especially since the current board, dominated by Obama appointees, he says, is pro-union.
Would you spell it out for us, Denny? If you speed up an election, 38 days down to 10 days, how is that a job killer?
DENNY STRIGL, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO, VERIZON WIRELESS: Stuart, The way the process works is this.
Unions must get 30 percent of the group to be represented by the union to sign authorization cards.
STRIGL: It takes months and months to do that. And once those 30 percent of the work force has signed those cards, they file with the NLRB for an election. The NLRB then calls an election and supervises that election.
Today, it’s typically 30 days to 40 days for that election to take place. What they would like to do is change that to 10 days, much to the union’s favor.
VARNEY: So what? So what?
STRIGL: Very -- very easy.
All the months that it took to build interest, and then to give companies only 10 days to state their side of the case?
STRIGL: It easily slants the results toward the union.
VARNEY: I thought the NLRB was supposed to be neutral. It adjudicated disputes, as opposed to taking sides and pushing a position. Are you saying the NLRB is not neutral?
STRIGL: Stuart, I -- frankly, I’ve never found that to be exactly the case.
(CROSSTALK) VARNEY: But is it less neutral now than it was previous administrations?
STRIGL: Well, let’s think about it. You look at the Boeing situation that we’ve encountered in South Carolina. Obviously, this was an end run on the attempt of unions to try to intimidate companies to not go to right- to-work states, where workers don’t have to join a union as a condition of their employment.
VARNEY: Is the administration flat-out pro-union?
STRIGL: I can’t say that. But I...
VARNEY: You can’t? Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
VARNEY: You’re saying that its own NLRB, which is dominated by Obama appointees, you’re saying it’s not neutral; it’s less neutral than it’s ever been.
STRIGL: Where do most union dollars go to support people that are -- want to be elected to office?
STRIGL: Clearly, there’s the answer.
VARNEY: Let me quote to you from Craig Becker. Now, Craig Becker, as you know, he’s a member of the NLRB. It’s a recess appointment by President Obama. He is a former labor lawyer. This is what he had to say. I’ve got two quotes for you from 1993. OK. We’re going back a bit, but this is what he had to say: "Employers should have no right to raise questions concerning voter eligibility or campaign conduct."
Before you comment -- before you comment, hold on a second. He went on to say, "Eliminate formal role of employers in union elections."
That is not a neutral guy.
STRIGL: Well, how can that be neutral in any way, shape or form? When does the company get to state their issues, get to state what they would prefer employees to do?
VARNEY: But why isn’t business pushing back? If the administration is so pro-union and business doesn’t want these speedy elections and more union representation, why aren’t -- why isn’t business pushing back more forcefully?
STRIGL: I think business will push back more forcefully, just as in the Boeing situation in South Carolina, that Boeing has stated their case. The -- even the politicians in South Carolina have stated their case. Other companies are supporting Boeing. I think you’ll see more and more of this.
VARNEY: Denny, you are not making much noise.
STRIGL: Well, I think we need to start making that noise.
VARNEY: Bang the table, OK?