In response to the National Labor Relations Board's proposed changes to the rules governing representation elections, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce voted to send Committee Chairman John Kline's (R-MN) "Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act" (H.R. 3094) bill to the floor earlier this week.
The bill would guarantee that no representation election is held within 35 days after the filing of a petition and provide for a two-week waiting period before the hearing could be held. In addition, the bill also seeks to undo the NLRB's recent decision in Specialty Healthcare, 357 NLRB No. 83 (Aug. 26, 2011), where the Board overruled 20 years of practice regarding how it determines the "appropriate unit" for the election.
When the NLRB announced its intent to change election procedures earlier this year, it claimed that "[t]he proposed amendments are intended to reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing." However, the proposed amendments to the NLRB's Rules and Regulations will also have a drastic effect on an employer's ability to respond to organizing campaigns and for employees to become educated about the advantages and disadvantages of union representation and collective bargaining.
The House bill follows on the heels of the Senate's “The Fair Representation in Elections Act of 2011” (S. 1425), which similarly requires that no election is held within 40 days after the filing of a petition.