Senate Votes to Block New NLRB Election Rule

Posted March 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm

During TRSA’s recent Leadership & Legislative Conference, one of the issues that TRSA members took to Capitol Hill was the need for Congress to address the recent NLRB actions shortening the election process for union representation. Here is an example of how activism actually does affect policy.  This past week, Senate lawmakers passed a resolution (S.J. Res. 8) to block National Labor Relations Board rules revising the representation election process, teeing the measure up for House consideration later this month.

The disapproval resolution challenges NLRB rules (RIN 3142-AA08) slated to take effect April 14, which supporters say are intended to streamline the representation election process. Adopted by the board in a 3-2 vote in December, the rules would allow union election petitions to be transmitted electronically, require a pre-election hearing to be held within seven days of the filing of a petition in most cases, and postpone certain voter eligibility disputes and other appeals until after the election takes place.

“The NLRB's rule to shorten union elections to as little as 11 days allows a union to force an election before an employer has a chance to figure out what is going on,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who sponsored the resolution, said in a statement following the vote. “Senate passage of this joint resolution is an important first step in stopping the NLRB's harmful rule and preserving every employer's right to free speech and every employee's right to privacy.” The bill also would require employers to provide unions with access to employee home and e-mail addresses and phone numbers as part of the organizing process.

The House of Representatives is expected to take up a companion resolution (H.J. Res. 29) after lawmakers return from recess on March 16.

Republicans in both chambers said that the resolution shines a light on one of a number of recent moves by the five-member NLRB and General Counsel Richard F. Griffin to tilt the scales in favor of unions. House resolution sponsor Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) said lawmakers may try to tack a similar measure onto other legislation in an effort to block the NLRB rules.

“We think it's very, very bad policy and I don't foreclose any options,” Kline, the House Education and the Workforce Committee chair, said when asked about adding the resolution's language to other legislation. “Certainly, there is the possibility for doing riders on appropriations bills and we'll be looking for other opportunities.”