03/01/2012 Fight Back on Ambush Elections
On February 16, 2012, Republican members of both the House and Senate introduced resolutions (H.J. Res. 103; S.J. Res. 36) formally disapproving of the National Labor Relations Board’s recent final rule that dramatically changes representation election procedures. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced the resolution in the House with 64 co-sponsors. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Help, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced a companion resolution with identical language in the Senate with 43 co-sponsors. The text of both measures is as follows:
Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation election procedures.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation election procedures (published at 76 Fed. Reg. 80138 (December 22, 2011)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.
Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a House or Senate joint resolution, if approved, has the force of law to prevent an agency rule from taking effect. A Senate resolution needs only a simple majority to pass if acted upon within 60 days of introduction, and cannot be filibustered. The Senate is currently comprised of 53 Democrats and 47 Republican members, so there is a possibility – albeit slim – that the measure could pass in that chamber. The House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a firm majority, is likely to approve their version. Even if both Houses of Congress were to pass such a resolution, however, it would face an almost certain Presidential veto, so the legislative maneuver is largely symbolic.
In a statement, Sen. Enzi said:
It is important to note that the current system is not broken. Unions already win more than 70 percent of secret ballot elections, and the median time period from petition-filing to election is just 38 days . . . There is no justification for ambushing employers with elections in as few as 10 days and limiting their ability to exercise free speech and other legal rights. Rather than responding to a serious problem, this new rule is a transparent attempt to increase the number of unionized workplaces in America by limiting the information employees receive before they vote.
The election rule is slated to take effect on April 30, 2012.
WECA members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support or co-sponsor. Don’t know who your member is? Check here.