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Resolutions introduced in House and Senate to block NLRB election rules

On Thursday, February 16, legislation was introduced in both chambers of the U.S. Congress that would, if enacted, block the recently announced changes to the NLRB’s election processes. House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn) and Representatives Phil Gingrey (R-Ga) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn) introduced H.J. Res. 103 in the House under the Congressional Review Act, and Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga) introduced a companion resolution (S.J. Res. 63) in the Senate.

On December 21, 2011, the NLRB finalized a number of previously introduced amendments to its election procedures, and Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce has indicated that he hopes to finalize the remaining amendments to the procedures this year. The changes were vociferously opposed by Congressional Republicans and, under the CRA, the Republicans could block the reforms. The CRA gives House or Senate joint resolutions, if approved, the force of law to prevent an agency rule from taking effect. Senate resolutions only need to be passed by a simple majority if acted upon within 60 days of introduction, and cannot be filibustered. Given the current Democratic majority in the Senate, it is unlikely, although not impossible, that the Resolution will pass. The House version is almost certain to pass. Should both chambers pass the resolution, it would almost certainly be vetoed by President Obama.

Senator Enzi has argued that the changes reform a system that was working. “It is important to note that the current system is not broken,” he said in a statement. “Unions already win more than 70 percent of secret ballot elections, and the median time period from petition-filing to election is just 38 days . . . There is no justification for ambushing employers with elections in as few as 10 days.”

Representative George Miller (D-Calif), the ranking member on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, countered that the reforms are needed to prevent “frivolous litigation” that delays secret ballot elections. Miller called the reforms “modest steps” and accused his Republican colleagues of trying to “to defund the agency…and take away any effective remedies the NLRB can use to enforce laws protecting workers from retaliation, and [interference] with ongoing enforcement actions.”

The election rule is slated to take effect on April 30, 2012.

Source: CCH Editorial Staff.