Rep. John Kline: NLRB is a runaway board and my bill is the way to rein it in

posted at 6:20 pm on November 29, 2011 by Tina Korbe

On a conference call with bloggers this afternoon, Congressman John Kline (R-Minn.) pinned the blame on President Obama for an out-of-control National Labor Relations Board and urged his colleagues in Congress to pass the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would address certain disastrous NLRB decisions.

“President Obama — this is his board,” Kline said. “He is supporting this if he’s not willing to step in there and help put some reins on what I think is a runaway board.”

In recent weeks, the NLRB has rushed to pass a rule that would shorten the unionization election process. Snap elections would allow union representatives ample time to make the case for unionization, but limit the amount of time business representatives would have to make the case against unionization. Kline’s Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act would ensure that no union election takes place less than 35 days after it is called, restoring to workers their right to hear both sides of the story.

In a similar move to favor unions, the NLRB has also adopted a new standard by which to decide what constitutes a collective bargaining unit (i.e. what group of employees participates in the vote to unionize). Think of this as gerrymandering union elections: Under the new standard, virtually any number and any combination of employees could constitute a collective bargaining unit, allowing unions to define the unit as those employees most likely to vote in favor of unionization. The new standard would also mean a company would have to collectively bargain with multiple micro-unions, which would further hike labor costs. Kline’s bill would reinstate the traditional standard, one born of “years of careful consideration and Congressional guidance,” according to the website of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which Kline chairs.

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act will likely reach the floor of the House of Representatives sometime in the next few days. In the House, Kline expects it will have broad Republican support, as well as support from at least a handful of Democrats. But, even if it passes the House, it will likely struggle in the Senate, despite Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-Ga.) push for a companion piece of legislation.

That means the most feasible means by which to stop the NLRB from actually implementing its partisan rules remains the resignation of the lone GOP member of the NLRB, which would leave the board without a quorum and unable to vote to finalize the new regulations. If that happened, Kline said he would certainly be supportive of his colleagues in the Senate blocking the confirmation of any additional member Obama might appoint to the NLRB.

“I certainly would not like to see a repeat of what we’ve seen here with the likes of [Democratic member] Craig Becker on the board,” Kline said. “We know that over history the board swings back and forth, but I think this is unprecedented, this rush to jam through things. … If that’s what we’re going to get, I would urge my Senate colleagues not to confirm a placement.”

In the meantime, Kline’s bill remains an important reminder that Congress ought to have oversight of regulations, which have essentially become a means for the executive branch to legislate. As Kline put it, the NLRB’s rule-making comes amidst “a blizzard of regulations … coming from virtually every department and agency.” The NLRB might be among the worst, but it’s hardly the only rogue rule-maker.


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…..and why, in a 21st Century economy, do we need an NLRB at all?

cthulhu on November 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

“But, even if it passes the House, it will likely struggle in the Senate,…”

Now that’s just crazy talk, Tina…!

/

Seven Percent Solution on November 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

This has been Obama’s strategy from the beginning — circumvent congress with activist-charged agencies and boards and watch from the wings as “fundamental transformation” takes shape in countless ways. Congress has nearly completely abdicated in this fight. The NLRB? Are you kidding me? They should have swatted down long ago. Likewise the EPA. And FCC. Has anybody heard of the latest net neutrality depredation? The GOP is pathetic. A few fighters, but no top-down institutional support in this assault against Congressional prerogative and the people.

rrpjr on November 29, 2011 at 6:34 PM

who is this Kline? i like him!

kelley in virginia on November 29, 2011 at 6:36 PM

That isnt even the crazy part. Check out Obama’s EO 13522. Obama nuked all Federal agencies with unlimited mandatory touchy feely union meetings.

“A nonadversarial forum for managers, employees, and employees’ union representatives to discuss Government operations will promote satisfactory labor relations and improve the productivity and effectiveness of the Federal Government.”

These are not optional meetings for Federal managers.

Johnnyreb on November 29, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Can someone tell me again why it is legal for groups of people to vote to become a cartel and engage in open price collusion and extortion?

Count to 10 on November 29, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Well I’ll be…as of June, Kline my new representative. Used to be Keith Ellison…Aloha Snackbar!!

w00t!!

BigWyo on November 29, 2011 at 6:48 PM

…..and why, in a 21st Century economy, do we need an NLRB at all?

cthulhu on November 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Why are labor unions treated any different from any other monopolies?

Count to 10 on November 29, 2011 at 6:49 PM

This has been Obama’s strategy from the beginning — circumvent congress with activist-charged agencies and boards and watch from the wings as “fundamental transformation” takes shape in countless ways. Congress has nearly completely abdicated in this fight. The NLRB? Are you kidding me? They should have swatted down long ago. Likewise the EPA. And FCC. Has anybody heard of the latest net neutrality depredation? The GOP is pathetic. A few fighters, but no top-down institutional support in this assault against Congressional prerogative and the people.

rrpjr on November 29, 2011 at 6:34 PM

If we are able to boot Obama out next November, the new president will face an enormous task of turning this type of thing around. It will take someone of enormous strength. This is without knowing the specifics of the incremental damage Obama would do after the election and before the next inauguration.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 29, 2011 at 6:56 PM

The most vehement critics of Obama have each understated his case. He is truly a Manchurian deceit.

Jaibones on November 29, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Pass the bill!

tinkerthinker on November 29, 2011 at 7:55 PM

…the specifics of the incremental damage Obama would will do after the election and before the next inauguration.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 29, 2011 at 6:56 PM

FIFY…

[breaks out in icy sweating screaming heebie-jeebies...]

Mary in LA on November 29, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Wait, wait, wait! How is 0 going to cripple the economy if his toolbox (NLRB, EPA, DOJ, HHS, etc.) is emptied out?

iurockhead on November 29, 2011 at 9:22 PM

If we are able to boot Obama out next November, the new president will face an enormous task of turning this type of thing around. It will take someone of enormous strength. This is without knowing the specifics of the incremental damage Obama would do after the election and before the next inauguration.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 29, 2011 at 6:56 PM

This is why it is more important to stack the House and Senate than to count on whoever gains the Presidency. No one, even Palin, can be that strong. There have to be a lot of people pushing him in the right direction and demonstrating that is what the people want.

YehuditTX on November 29, 2011 at 11:44 PM