Senate, House Leaders Introduce Legislative Response to NLRB Ambush Election Rule

Posted on March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27 – Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), today introduced legislation that will protect the rights of workers and employers by rolling back the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial ambush election rule.

“The National Labor Relations Board ought to be an umpire,” said Senator Alexander, “but under this administration has lunged so far to the side of union advocacy that they’re willing to sacrifice every worker’s right to privacy and every employer’s right to free speech. Congress must act, first to stop this rule, second to reform this board.”

“The Obama NLRB is on a mission to rush union elections that will stifle employers’ free speech and cripple workers’ free choice,” said Chairman Kline. “At a recent meeting with board Chairman Mark Pearce, we laid out our concerns with the proposal and its consequences for workers and job creators. However, it’s exceedingly obvious the board is determined to advance this radical scheme no matter the damage inflicted on our nation’s workplaces. Congress cannot just stand by and do nothing. The commonsense legislative approach we are proposing today will strengthen the rights workers and employers have enjoyed for decades.”

“Republicans have said time and again if there are ways to improve the current union election process, we are more than happy to do that,” said Rep. Roe. “Unfortunately, the board’s regulatory proposal upends decades of labor policies to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Even more disturbing, it will make workers and their families vulnerable to harassment and intimidation at home or on the jobsite. Our legislation will empower workers to protect their personal privacy and help modernize the election process. This is a win-win for workers that deserves the support of our colleagues.”

Background: In February the NLRB proposed sweeping changes to long-standing labor policies in an attempt to speed up union elections. Nearly identical to a rule introduced in 2011, the board’s proposal provides employers only seven days to find legal counsel and appear before an NLRB regional officer at a pre-election hearing. During those seven days, employers will have to identify every legal concern or basically forfeit the ability to raise additional concerns during the course of the hearing. The rule also delays answers to important questions, including voter eligibility, until after the election has occurred. Finally, the proposed rule jeopardizes worker privacy by providing employees’ names, home and email addresses, work schedules, phone numbers, and other personal information to union organizers.

As a result of these changes, union elections could occur in as few as 10 days, providing employers no time to communicate with their employees and undermining the ability of workers to make an informed decision, and worker privacy will be compromised. The legislative response proposed by Senator Alexander, Chairman Kline, and Representative Roe would:

  • Guarantee workers have time to gather all the facts to make a fully informed decision in a union election. No union election will be held in less than 35 days.
  • Ensure employers are able to participate in a fair union election process. The bill provides employers at least 14 days to prepare their case to present before a NLRB election officer and protects their right to raise additional concerns throughout the pre-election hearing.
  • Reasserts the board’s responsibility to address critical issues before a union is allowed to represent workers. The board must determine the appropriate group of employees to include in the union before the union is certified, as well as address any questions of voter eligibility.
  • Empower workers to control the disclosure of their personal information. Employers would have seven days to provide a list of employee names and one additional piece of contact information chosen by each individual employee.

To learn more about the legislation introduced in the House, click here.

To learn more about the legislation introduced in the Senate, click here.

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