Yesterday and today the Senate debated and voted on S.J. Res 36, a Resolution of Disapproval aimed at prohibiting the National Labor Relations Board from implementing its new election rules that will shorten the time between the filing of an NLRB petition and the conduct of a union representation election. The Senate rejected the resolution by a vote of 54-45. President Obama threatened to veto the resolution if it passed the Senate.

After the vote, Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), who introduced the resolution, stated:

This vote was an important opportunity to send a message to the NLRB that their job is not to tip the scale in favor of one party or another, but to fairly resolve disputes and conduct secret ballot elections. The NLRB’s duty as a federal agency is to be the referee and decide what is fair for the parties involved, based on the clear facts of the case.  The NLRB will be tipping the scale with this ambush elections rule, which will go into effect next week.

Meanwhile, the UFCW issued a press release celebrating the outcome while asserting a need for additional measures to make organizing easier: 

This NLRB rule is a modest step toward improving the rights of workers to organize. It will help eliminate some of the unnecessary delays and frivolous lawsuits that prevent workers from receiving a fair and timely election. But make no mistake, the NLRB union election process still overwhelmingly favors employers who control workers’ schedules and opportunities for raises and promotions. Majority sign-up, binding arbitration, and true employer neutrality are all still needed to make the system even remotely fair.

As such, labor unions are not completely satisfied with the new election rules and will continue their push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). 

The NLRB’s new election rules will become effective April 30, 2012 barring a ruling by the court in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s lawsuit  against the NLRB. Both sides have filed dueling summary judgment motions and are awaiting a ruling from the district court.