While it will largely be overshadowed by all of the news about Bibi, Hillary’s emails and the cave on the DHS bill, the Senate is still getting around to the regular business on the docket. One of those items is a vote which seeks to use the Congressional Review Act to undo new National Labor Relations Board rules which will allow for “quickie” ambush elections to install unions at American businesses. Without action, those rules are set to go into effect, ironically, on tax day… April 15th. The Hill reports.
The Senate will vote Wednesday on a GOP-backed motion that would undo a controversial National Labor Relations Board rule that makes it easier for workers to hold union elections.
Republicans say the rule is unfair to businesses. If it goes into effect next month, it would shorten the amount of time employers have to prepare for union elections from 38 days to 11 days.
“This rule makes it harder for business to meet their obligations in good faith,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said from the Senate floor. “It denies employees the time they need to be able to make informed decisions and in undermines the fair and timely process for union elections.”
Although unions already win a majority of NLRB-conducted elections, if the NLRB’s ambush election rules take effect as planned, according to a chart produced by the Labor Relations Institute, it is expected that union win rates will increase dramatically.
Additionally, the NLRB’s new rules mandate that petitioned employers will be required to turn over a list of employee names, their home addresses, telephone numbers, as well as email addresses.
A few points about both the rules under discussion and the mechanism of this vote. First of all, there is more in this rules change than just slashing the amount of time that businesses have to get ready for a union election and make their case to the workers. Under the new guidelines, employers will have to deliver personal information – including home addresses and contact info – to the union representatives. This is an invitation to intimidation by union activists and removes the right to privacy for the workers who may not wish to be endlessly pestered at home or have their voice mail boxes filled up by threats.
As to the vote itself, there should at least be a bit less drama than we normally see. The vote in the Senate, held under the rules of the Congressional Review Act, will only require a straight majority vote in both the House and the Senate and it isn’t subject to filibuster. Unfortunately for workers, the President has already promised to veto it if it passes and there likely aren’t enough votes to override it.
The somewhat good news, though, is that there are already challenges to the ambush election rules making their way through the federal courts now. How long that will take is anybody’s guess, though. For the time being, I expect that these rules will go into effect on schedule and only be overturned later, assuming they ever go away at all.