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Public Statements

Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act.

First, some history. The National Labor Relations Act was passed in the mid-thirties, and the National Labor Relations Board of five members--three from the majority party and two of the minority party--are to act as a fair arbiter. Basically, the referee for disputes.

And there was a ruling of the Supreme Court not long ago with regard to New Process Steel that said that two members--one Democrat and one Republican--both who agreed on over 600 decisions, that a quorum was not present and all of those decisions had to be thrown out. Therein calls the question.

The President made a pro forma recess appointment. Presidents, as has been stated here many times, have made recess appointments to various boards and they had the constitutional right to do that; but no President has ever made a recess appointment during a pro forma session. Let me read here from the Senate Congressional Record of November 16, 2007. This is Leader Reid:

Mr. President, the Senate will be coming in for pro forma sessions during the Thanksgiving holiday to prevent recess appointments.

The recent ruling of Noel Canning stated that the appointments were unconstitutional. The unique part of the National Labor Relations Board is that any other court circuit ruling in the country can be appealed to the D.C. circuit. So they have standing, and the standing says that the aggrieved party can do one of two things: they can ask for a vote of the entire court or they can appeal it to the Supreme Court.

This is a very simple bill. It does several things, and it asks the following:

One, that the Supreme Court rule;

Two, that the President go ahead and make the appointments;

Three, that the Board not issue any further rulings that may be overturned and create this uncertainty; and that once a board is approved, that it goes back and reviews all of the various rulings that have been made in order to get rid of this uncertainty.

We need the certainty for both labor and management to move forward. It's a very confusing time, and I would ask for the support of this bill.

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