Senate debates curb on NLRB

GOP aims to kill union-vote change

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The National Labor Relations Board as a political hot potato shows no signs of cooling off anytime soon.

Senate Republicans on Monday introduced a motion of disapproval that would overturn the labor agency’s recent move to allow what critics call “ambush elections” that would make it easier to install unions at a workplace. The vote will be held Tuesday afternoon.

“This vote’s an opportunity to tell the NLRB to reverse course,” said Sen. Michael B. Enzi, Wyoming Republican, who introduced the measure. “This resolution will not disadvantage unions or roll back any rights. What it will do is prevent the small businesses across America from being ambushed and employees from being misled.”

It’s the most recent attempt by Republicans to rein in what some consider an overreaching NLRB.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled against the agency’s proposed rule that would have required private companies to hang posters in the workplace notifying employees of their right to unionize.

“The legislative history of this act supports a finding that Congress did not intend to impose a universal notice-posting requirement on employers, nor did it authorize the board to do so,” wrote District Judge David C. Norton, who was appointed to the bench in Charleston by President George Herbert Walker Bush.

With the workplace posters rule shot down, Senate Republicans think they have the NLRB on its heels.

They collected 45 signatures from Senate members on a petition to bring their anti-“ambush election” resolution, S.J. Res. 36, to the floor.

Debate began Monday, and is expected to conclude Tuesday.

Congressional Republicans have long complained that the Obama administration’s NLRB is a rogue agency controlled by Big Labor.

Republicans contend the ambush-election rule, which could speed up union elections from an average of 38 days after a petition is filed to as little as 10 days, would disadvantage companies and prevent employees from hearing both sides.

“It’s time to stop this agency and level the odds,” Mr. Enzi said. “They’re abusing their authority.”

But Democrats say the NLRB rule is necessary to overcome union busters who scare employees away from organizing. The rule would create “an environment free of intimidation.”

“This is the latest chapter on the unprecedented Republican assault on unions,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat. He added Republicans will do anything to “undermine” the NLRB.

“These attacks on this modest rule, I think, go right after the intelligence of the working American,” he said.

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