Most people in West Virginia don't even know what the National Labor Relations Board is. Well, why should they? Here's why.
For decades, American labor law helped working people come together to have a voice on the job, which in turn gave them a say in our economy and in our politics and public life. This freedom to organize, which is enshrined in the National Labor Relations Act (and, by the way in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights) helped produce the greatest period of sustained and broad prosperity in our country's history.
Everyone did better.
Broadly shared prosperity is needed once again. In order to rebuild our economy and level the playing field for all working people -- union and non-union -- the law protecting workers' rights must be enforced. That's the role of the National Labor Relations Board -- and it needs to work.
That doesn't mean protecting the rights of working people as opposed to the rights of employers. It means ensuring the NLRB's ability to promote commerce by governing the relationship between workers and employers.
The less the board works, the more America's economy falls out of whack, as we see it today with record inequality and a shrinking middle class.
But currently the NLRB is under unprecedented attack by extremist congressional Republicans and corporate lobbyists who want to weaken the board's power to protect workers who choose to organize and form unions on the job.
While this issue may not grace the front page of every newspaper, the effects are and will continue to be felt at home here in West Virginia and across the nation.
In the face of partisan obstruction threats in Washington, President Obama made three Board recess appointments. But an unprecedented and radical decision by conservative U.S. district judges has put these appointments in jeopardy.