Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fun With The Marshall Tucker Band And Proposed Rulemaking By The NLRB

Its been a while since I’ve posted ... life and business sometimes get in the way. You’ve probably missed my pithy commentary, so I apologize for the inconvenience.

Before I get to the legal stuff, I thought I’d share a fabulous experience I had last week with the Marshall Tucker Band (“MTB”). MTB first hit the music scene in 1973 with the release of its self-titled album (yes, it was on vinyl, no CDs or downloads back in the day). From then on the hits just kept on comin’ ... from “Can’t You See,” “This ‘Ol Cowboy,” and “Heard It In A Love Song,” MTB helped blaze the trail for the success and popularity of the Southern Rock genre of music.

Through a good friend, my wife and I were able to hang out backstage with the boys from MTB. It was an absolute blast. Everyone, from musicians, management and road crew were as nice and accommodating to us as could be; certainly, the term “southern gentleman” is applicable to each and every one of the folks in MTB. Doug Gray, the lead singer and an original member of the band, was gracious and generous with his time; hey, he signed my MTB CD (which I now treasure even more), took some photos with us, gave me his business card, hung out, and was simply amazing. For me, it was special since Doug is my favorite Southern Rock singer of all time; so, for him to spend time with us when he had a show to do was simply awesome. I’d particularly like to thank Doug, Dibby, Marcus, Pat, Rick, Chris, Stuart and Darryl for giving us such a great night; and of course, a big shout out to Doctor John, without whom the night would not have been possible. The show was the best I’ve seen in years! The only thing left is for MTB to be voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (the “Hall”). It’s a travesty that MTB has yet to be voted in, particularly when, IMHO, there are artists there already who pale in comparison to MTB both in quality of performance and songwriting. There’s a Petition circulating to get MTB into the Hall, and you can find it here. Please take a few minutes to help correct a musical injustice that has been ongoing for years and sign the Petition.

Now, for the legal stuff. The National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) has issued proposed rulemaking that would cut the period for union representation elections (after a petition is filed) from an average of 38 days to as little as 10 days. This would severely limit an employer's ability to effectively communicate the impact of unionization to its workers. The NLRB has proposed other time reductions as well with respect to representation elections which also could impact adversely upon an employer’s ability to oppose compulsory unionization. The proposed rules appear to be a variant of what was "offered" in the Employee Free Choice Act which, of course, did not get through Congress. Given the current makeup of the NLRB, it seems that it is attempting to accomplish, through rulemaking, what the Obama administration failed to achieve through Congressional approval. In the poor economy we’ve encountered over the last few years, making it easier to unionize is likely to drive many small business into the garbage heap due to extraordinarily high costs of labor and benefits. Ironically, the very jobs which organized labor seeks to secure will likely be lost, thereby increasing unemployment and further eroding an already precarious economic environment. Once again, an example of your tax dollars hard at work.

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