The Labor & Employment Blog is a forum for practitioners and Bloomberg BNA editors to share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues.
Friday, April 27, 2012
by Michael Rose
Congressional wrangling over the
National Labor Relations Board was back in the news this week, as
the Senate voted not to advance debate on a resolution disapproving
of the agency's proposed rule that would make changes to the union representation election process.
S.J. Res. 36, a resolution put forward by Sen. Mike Enzi
(R-Wyo.) in February, was a strongly worded statement against what
he termed the NLRB'S "ambush election" rule. The rule is scheduled to take effect on Monday, April 30.
Invoking the Congressional Review Act, Enzi in
February introduced the one-sentence resolution, stating that "Congress
disapproves" of the NLRB regulatory action and that "such rule shall
have no force or effect."
Among other things, the rule would change NLRB procedure by no longer recommending that NLRB regional directors schedule
representation elections no sooner than 25 days after a petition
for an election is filed. Supporters say the measure would speed up the representation election process, which under current procedures can take months.
A federal court currently is considering a challenge to the
regulation, but has not indicated when it might rule on the matter. The agency, meanwhile, is preparing to apply the rule, with NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon issuing a guidance memorandum which said the changes "will enhance our efficiency and provide more field-wide uniformity and predictability in the processing of representation cases."
Many Democrats, including Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman
of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee,
have said they support the changes. Harkin said during debate on
the resolution that the board did no more than make modest changes
in its procedures to avoid unreasonable delays.
Much of the debate took place solely between Enzi and Harkin in
an empty Senate chamber. Eventually, 45 senators voted to proceed
on the resolution, while 54 voted against advancing it.
In other labor news this week:
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Labor Stats and Facts: Seven Surprising Facts About Health Care Bargaining
EEO Roundup: EEOC Nomination, House Testimony
Public Sector Roundup: OPM Issues `Phased Retirement' Proposal to Allow Part-Time Work for Future Federal Retirees
Public Sector Roundup: Legislation to Require OPM to Track Union 'Official Time' Approved by House Panel
Labor Stats and Facts: Union Workers' Benefits Don't Outpace Nonunion Benefits; They Lap Them