U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who is the Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, participated in a press conference today to announce that he has joined 43 of his Senate colleagues in filing a formal challenge to the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) recent rule on ambush union elections, which would radically alter union representation elections.
The senators, led by Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who is the Ranking Member on the Senate HELP Committee, introduced a resolution of disapproval, S.J. Res 36, under the Congressional Review Act, which, if passed, would allow Congress to stop the NLRB from implementing its ambush election rule. The House is scheduled to introduce a similar resolution of disapproval this week.
The Congressional Review Act allows either the Senate or the House to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval with the full force of law to stop a federal agency from implementing a recent rule or regulation. A resolution of disapproval introduced under the Congressional Review Act cannot be filibustered and needs only a simple majority in the Senate to pass if acted upon during a 60-day window.
"Today, I join my fellow members of Congress in speaking out against the NLRB's recent rule that is a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. This is a definite attempt by the NLRB to skew the relationship between management and labor, and it turns the National Labor Relations Board into a "National Labor Unfairness Board,'" said Isakson. "It's only fair to give a company enough time to make its case prior to a union election, and when you compress that time, you create a rush to judgment or at worse, an ambush. Our country has had stable labor laws in place for 75 years. At a time of high unemployment and a sluggish economy, trying to weigh the playing field one way or another either against management or for labor is just the wrong thing to do."
Prior to the December 2011 expiration of NLRB Member Craig Becker's recess appointment, the NLRB quickly issued a final rule to allow union bosses to "ambush" employers with union elections before employers have a fair chance to learn their rights and explain their views to employees, as required by law. This new rule will limit the issues and evidence that can be presented at a pre-election hearing, which will ultimately result in having numerous questions remaining unresolved prior to a union election. In addition, this rule eliminates the current 25-day "grace period" which will allow elections to occur in roughly 20 days, putting significant strain on small business owners who lack the resources or legal expertise to address the union election process within such a short time frame.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) have filed a lawsuit to contest the rule on the grounds that it violates the National Labor Relations Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as well as free speech and due process constitutional rights.