09.16.14

McConnell, Alexander Introduce Bill to Turn National Labor Relations Board from Advocate to Umpire

“NLRB Reform Act” will help ensure stability for American workers

 

Washington, D.C., Sept. 16 - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today introduced the NLRB Reform Act to turn the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from an advocate to an umpire and keep the general counsel from operating as an activist for one side or the other.

McConnell said: “Sen. Alexander has always been a strong advocate of smart reform policies, and I commend him for introducing this much needed reform of the National Labor Relations Board,” said Senate Republican Leader McConnell. “Whether it’s the President’s unconstitutional effort to pack the NLRB with liberal partisans two years ago, or efforts to undermine secret ballots for union elections, it’s past time to restore the NLRB to its proper role as an umpire, instead of an advocate for the Right or the Left.”

Alexander said: “This legislation will turn the National Labor Relations Board from an advocate to the umpire it ought to be. The board is too partisan, swinging from one side to the other with each new administration--and while this didn’t start with President Obama, it’s gotten worse as he's loaded the board with union insiders. It's time for the board to restore stability to our nation's workplaces, with nonpartisan decisions made more quickly, assisted by a neutral general counsel.”

The NLRB Reform Act addresses three problems with the board—its partisanship, its activist general counsel, and its slow decision-making—with three solutions. The legislation will:

  • End partisan advocacy: To put an end to the partisanship, this legislation would increase the number of board members from five to six, requiring an even split between Republicans and Democrats. All decisions would require the agreement of four board members, resulting in consensus from both sides. The five-year terms of the board members would be synched up over time so that a Republican and Democrat seat are up for nomination at the same time.
  • Rein in the general counsel: The board’s most recent general counsels have stretched federal labor law to its limits—and sometimes beyond. With this bill, parties will have 30 days to seek review of a general counsel’s complaint in federal district court and will have new discovery rights allowing them to obtain memoranda and other documents relevant to the complaint within 10 days.
  • Encourage timely decision-making:  The NLRB is taking too long to resolve cases. Under the NLRB Reform Act, either party in a case before the board may appeal to a Federal Court of Appeals if the board fails to reach a decision in their case within one year. To further incentivize speedy decision-making, funding for the entire NLRB would be reduced by 20 percent if the board is not able to decide 90 percent of its cases within one year over the first two-year period post-reform.  

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For access to this release and Ranking Member Alexander’s other statements, click here

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