Earlier this week, one new National Labor Relations Board rule was put on indefinite hold. Now Senate Republicans are taking aim at another Board initiative set to go into effect on April 30, 2012 — the rule designed to expedite union representation elections. Earlier today, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee announced that next week the Senate will debate the the resolution of disapproval condemning the Board’s rule.
The measure, S.J. Res 36, was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Enzi and forty-four other Senators under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Its target is the rule, announced by the Board just before expiration of former Member Craig Becker’s term in December of 2011, which would shorten the time between the filing of an NLRB petition and the conduct of a union representation election. Sen. Enzi announced that the resolution has been placed on the Senate legislative calendar and that debate on the resolution is expected on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Of the Board’s rule, Sen. Enzi said:
This rule was rushed into place by an agency that is bound and determined to stack the odds against American employers. … Despite the fact that unemployment has remained above 8 percent for the past three years, and with small business growth being the most important factor in reversing the lackluster economy, the NLRB has chosen to impose new rules to aid big labor at the expense of employees, small business employers and the jobs they would create.
The CRA resolution is not the only measure aimed at blocking implementation of the Board’s rule. Months ago, Rep. John Kline’s (R-MN) "Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act" (H.R. 3094) passed the House by a vote of 235-188. The bill would guarantee that no representation election is held within 35 days after the filing of a petition, provide for a two-week waiting period before a hearing could be held, and ensure certain preliminary appeal rights eliminated by the Board rule. There is also litigation pending and both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Board have filed dueling summary judgment motions which should be decided fairly soon.
Employers must stay tuned to developments. Absent successful challenge by any one of these various approaches, the Board’s new rule will go into effect April 30, 2012.