Senate Republicans are pushing what’s known as a “resolution of disapproval” of modernized union election rules issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The rules were approved by the NLRB in December 2014 to reduce unnecessary litigation and delay in the election process. The new rules will benefit employers, workers and unions.
“It is almost universally acknowledged that the current rules have been abused and lead to unnecessarily delay and litigation, stacking the deck unfairly against workers who want to unionize,” wrote IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger in a letter to Senators. “Fixing this problem is squarely within the NLRB’s jurisdiction, and the Congress, having created an expert administrative agency to manage this kind of problem, should stay out of this issue.”
If approved, S.J. Res. 8 would not only wipe out the new rules, but also prohibit the NLRB from adopting another rule in “substantially the same form” unless specifically authorized by Congress. For example, the Board could not issue rules requiring electronic filing of election petitions, consistent with practices in all federal courts.
“Even as the biggest corporations have posted record profits, and even as American productivity has increased, American workers’ paychecks have stagnated,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) at a recent Senate hearing on the measure. “And many are struggling to make ends meet on rock-bottom wages and poor conditions on the job. Unfortunately, once again, instead of sticking up for workers, my Republican colleagues are rushing to the defense of the biggest corporations that have an interest in keeping wages low and denying workers a voice to improve the workplace.”
Many companies exploit the current rules to delay elections and wear down union support, thus denying workers the opportunity to bargain for better pay and working conditions.
“Disapproval of the NLRB election rules under the Congressional Review Act would undermine the rights of workers to a fair and timely election to decide whether they want to form a union and bargain collectively,” wrote AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director William Samuel in a letter to Senators.