Beck aired false claim that a union only needs 30 percent support from employees to be "established"

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

Fox News' Glenn Beck aired an on-screen graphic with the headline, "THEN ... WAGNER ACT," which falsely asserted that if 30 percent of employees want a union, "it gets established." In fact, the Wagner Act, which was passed in the 1930s, required that for union representation to be established, a majority of employees in a bargaining unit within a company had to "designate or select" a union to represent them. The National Labor Relations Act as it stands today also contains a majority requirement.

During the February 12 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck aired an on-screen graphic with the headline, "THEN ... WAGNER ACT," which falsely asserted that if 30 percent of employees want a union, "it gets established." In fact, the Wagner Act, the original National Labor Relations Act, which was passed in the 1930s, required that for union representation to be established, a majority of employees in a bargaining unit within a company had to "designate or select" a union to represent them. The National Labor Relations Act as it stands today also contains a majority requirement.

From the Wagner Act as it was passed in 1935:

Sec. 9. (a) Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such a unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment: Provided, That any individual employee or a group of employees shall have the right at any time to present grievances to their employer.

(b) The Board shall decide in each case whether, in order to insure employees the full benefit of their right to self-organization and to collective bargaining, and otherwise to effectuate the policies of this Act, the unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining shall be the employer unit, craft unit, plan unit, or subdivision thereof.

(c) Whenever a question affecting commerce arises concerning the representation of employees, the Board may investigate such controversy and certify to the parties, in writing, the name or names of the representatives that have been designated or selected. In any such investigation, the board shall provide for an appropriate hearing upon due notice, either in conjunction with a proceeding under section 10 or otherwise, and may take a secret ballot of employees, or utilize any other suitable method to ascertain such representatives.

(d) Whenever an order of the Board made pursuant to section 10 (c) is based in whole or in part upon facts certified following an investigation pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, and there is a petition for the enforcement or review of such order, such certification and the record of such investigation shall be included in the transcript of the entire record required to be filed under subsections 10 (e) or 10 (f), and thereupon the decree of the court enforcing, modifying, or setting aside in whole or in part the order of the Board shall be made and entered upon the pleadings, testimony, and proceedings set forth in such transcript.

The "30 percent" figure appears to be a misrepresentation of a section of a provision of the National Labor Relations Act as it stands today. Under current law, the NLRB must hold an election if 30 percent of employees in a bargaining unit authorize representation by a union. The Taft-Hartley Act still requires that a majority of employees in a bargaining unit select a union in order for that union to represent the unit.

From Section 9 of the current version of the National Labor Relations Act:

(a) Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment: Provided, That any individual employee or a group of employees shall have the right at any time to present grievances to their employer and to have such grievances adjusted, without the intervention of the bargaining representative, as long as the adjustment is not inconsistent with the terms of a collective- bargaining contract or agreement then in effect: Provided further, That the bargaining representative has been given opportunity to be present at such adjustment.

[...]

(e) (1) Upon the filing with the Board by a labor organization, which is the representative of employees as provided in section 9 (a), of a petition alleging that 30 per centum or more of the employees within a unit claimed to be appropriate for such purposes desire to authorize such labor organization to make an agreement with the employer of such employees requiring membership m such labor organization as a condition of employment in such unit, upon an appropriate showing thereof the Board shall, if no question of representation exists, take a secret ballot of such employees, and shall certify the results thereof to such labor organization and to the employer.

(2) Upon the filing with the Board, by 30 per centum or more of the employees in a bargaining unit covered by an agreement between their employer and a labor organization made pursuant to section 8

(a) (3) (ii), of a petition alleging they desire that such authority be rescinded, the Board shall take a secret ballot of the employees in such unit, and shall certify the results thereof to such labor organization and to the employer.

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From the February 12 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Burton, I want to talk about -- first of all, there's -- there's several things going on in America right now. There's big spending coming, which the New Deal did.

BURTON FOLSOM (author and history professor at Hillsdale College): Right.

BECK: There is the merging of corporations and government, which the New Deal did. And then the last one --

FOLSOM: Right.

BECK: -- was controlling labor and giving power to the labor union. We touched on this last night. There was a mini-depression or another depression in the Great Depression. It started, I think, in 1936 or '37. It was caused by the Wagner Act. Can you explain this?

FOLSOM: Sure. There are actually a couple of causes, Glenn. We had the high taxes and the minimum wage. They greatly contributed to the failure of the New Deal to get us out of the Great Depression and get that -- unemployment ended up being 19 percent and 20 percent.

But the unions played their role, too. The unions were terrible. We had the beginnings, after the Wagner Act, of the United Auto Workers striking against General Motors.

BECK: OK.

FOLSOM: That was done specifically with Walter Reuther, member of the Socialist Party at the time, striking and helping the UAW strike a sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan, against General Motors at a key plant that they had in that city.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
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