WASHINGTON, Mar. 4 – The Senate today passed a joint resolution offered by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to stop the National Labor Relations Board from implementing its “ambush election” rule. The rule was finalized in December to shorten the length of time in which a labor union certification election is held—currently a median 38 days—to as little as 11 days. The senators introduced the resolution under the Congressional Review Act last month, and it is the first step in halting implementation of this rule.
“The NLRB’s ‘ambush’ rule is aimed at enriching political bosses at the expense of middle class workers,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Republicans think workers should have the right to make an informed decision when casting their ballot in a union election. Among other things, the Administration’s ‘ambush’ rule would allow union bosses to access things like personal email addresses and cell numbers without a worker’s permission. Republicans refuse to stand by while the Administration attempts to strip away the most basic worker freedoms via regulation, which is why we are challenging this extreme and partisan rule.”
“The NLRB’s rule to shorten union elections to as little as 11 days allows a union to force an election before an employer has a chance to figure out what is going on,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate labor committee. “Senate passage of this joint resolution is an important first step in stopping the NLRB’s harmful rule and preserving every employer’s right to free speech and every employee’s right to privacy.”
“The current process for union elections is fair and timely. The National Labor Relations Board’s rule would undermine that process, hurting employees and employers alike,” said Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “Congress needs to make it clear that unnecessary regulations that make it harder for small businesses to go through the union election process and deny employees the time they need to make informed decisions are non-starters.”
Under the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate can vote on a joint resolution of disapproval to stop, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation or issuing a substantially similar regulation without congressional authorization. The resolution, which has 51 cosponsors in the Senate, passed today by a vote of 53-46. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) have introduced a similar resolution, which will require a simple majority to pass the House before being sent to the president.
In December, the NLRB released its final rule to authorize “ambush elections,” in an attempt to speed up union elections, which could take place in as few as 11 days. The rule gives employers no time to communicate with their employees before a union election and undermines the ability of workers to make an informed decision. In addition, it will compromise worker privacy by forcing employers to provide employees’ personal email addresses, work schedules, personal cell phone numbers, and other personal information to union organizers without employees’ consent. The rule only gives employers seven days to find legal counsel and prepare for a pre-election hearing before an NLRB regional officer. During those seven days, employers will have to identify every legal concern or forfeit the ability to raise the concern at all. The ambush election rule will go into effect April 14, 2015.