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Resolutions Would Block Union Elections Rule

February 23, 2012

From SBAM’s national affiliate, NSBA:

On Feb. 16, Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), along with 65 cosponsors, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution (H.J. Res. 103) to disapprove under the Congressional Review Act the union elections rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) late last year. A similar resolution (S.J. Res. 36) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)which has 44 cosponsors.

Often referred to as the “ambush elections” rule, NSBA took a firm stance last year against the rule, filing comments which detailed the unfair process and significant burden it would pose for small businesses.

NSBA has submitted a letter in support of both resolutions which, if passed, would prevent the regulation from going into effect. Of primary concern with the ambush elections rule is the fact that unions can spend months or even years in advance of filing a petition to encourage employee support of unionization. The unions control when a petition is filed, giving them the upper-hand in planning and spreading information to the workforce. Employers, under this proposed rule, would then bear the full brunt of a shortened timeframe which, in certain circumstances, could be just 10 days following the filing of a petition. 

The current median time between a petition being filed and the elections is only 38 days. Moreover, unions prevailed in 71 percent of elections in FY 2011. It is unclear, therefore, that there even exists any major flaw in the process or major delays–as NLRB has claimed–that have prompted this proposal. 

The primary objective of the National Labor Relations Act is to “assure employees the fullest freedom to decide whether or not they desire union representation.” Employees ought to have unfettered access to information from both sides on the implications of a unionizing campaign before a vote would happen. This rule impedes that objective. 

The rule would dramatically limit the scope of the pre-hearing process. Previously, both the NLRB and courts have come to the conclusion that, as the law spells out, a pre-election hearing is necessary to ensure fairness to employers and to protect the rights of employees to make informed choices in the elections. 

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