By Pete Kasperowicz
Freshman Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Friday morning that the House should approve legislation scaling back proposed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules allowing for faster union elections, in part because the NLRB has "lost its marbles."
Scott quoted an email, made public earlier this year by Judicial Watch, in which acting NLRB general counsel Lafe Solomon responded to an article critical of the NLRB by joking that he and a colleague should now try to destroy the European economy, having already destroyed the American economy.
"I want you to hear this clearly, I'm going to say it slowly, because we need to understand and appreciate that the NLRB has lost its marbles, without any question," Scott said on the floor. He then read the email, in which Solomon said to a colleague: "The article gave me a new idea. You go to Geneva, and I get a job with Airbus. We screwed up the U.S. economy, and now we can tackle Europe."
"Only in an alternate universe is this funny or does it make any sense whatsoever," Scott said.
The bill up for debate Friday, H.R. 3094, would block rules the NLRB proposed over the summer that would allow for union elections to take place as quickly as 10 days after a petition is filed. Under the bill, employers would have 14 days to find legal representation, and union elections could take place no earlier than 35 days after a petition is filed.
"Currently, the average time is 35 to 40 days, a reasonable amount of time," Scott said about the timing of union elections. "This is a significant difference. Going down from 35 to 40 days down to seven to 10 days is ridiculous."
The legislation also seeks to more narrowly define work units that can collectively bargain with employers, by requiring the NLRB to ensure that these units share a "sufficient community of interest." For example, it would require work units to have similar wages, benefits and skills, as well as sufficient contact with one another and an "integration of the work flow and inter-relationship of the production process."
The House finished debate on the rule for H.R. 3094 Friday morning, and was expected to vote on the rule early Friday afternoon. More work on the bill is expected after the Thanksgiving break.
The NLRB has been a recent target of House Republicans, in particular because of the its decision to sue Boeing for trying to open a new factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. The NLRB argued that the company's move is an attempt to punish striking union workers in Washington state.