04.14.15

Senate, House Leaders Continue Fight Against Ambush Union Elections

As NLRB rule goes into effect, Republicans introduce legislative response to ensure fair union elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) today introduced legislation that will preserve long-standing union election procedures by safeguarding the right of workers to make informed decisions about union representation, ensuring the ability of employers to communicate with their employees, and protecting the privacy of workers and their families.

“The NLRB’s ambush election rule forces a union election in as little as 11 days—before an employer and many employees even have a chance to figure out what is going on,” said Chairman Alexander. “Congress must act to stop this damaging rule, which sacrifices every employer’s right to free speech and every worker’s right to privacy—all for the sake of boosting organized labor.”

“Starting today, an ambush union election scheme will begin wreaking havoc on our nation’s workplaces,” said Chairman Kline. “Through his labor board, the president has endorsed new rules that will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy and safety of workers and their families. We promised that the fight against ambush elections wasn’t over. That is why today I am pleased to join my House and Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that will rein in the board's unprecedented overreach, protect the rights of workers and employers, and preserve a fair union election process.”

“The National Labor Relations Board continues to skew the playing field between management and labor,” said Sen. Isakson. “I have been fighting against these unfair rulings by the NLRB since President Obama took office. This bill protects free speech and ensures that workers are afforded the opportunity to make informed decisions about their right to organize, while safeguarding their personal information and privacy. At a time when our economy and our middle class are trying to recover from a recession, the NLRB’s ambush election policy is absolutely the wrong thing to do and I urge Congress to pass the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act to restore a level playing field.”

“Unions and employers deserve a chance to make their case on unionizing,” said Rep. Roe, “and employees deserve adequate time to consider the consequences of their decisions, but the ambush election rule unfairly rushes the decision-making process. The safeguards we are seeking to restore with these bills give employees the freedom to make an informed decision. It is unacceptable that the NLRB would force employers to disclose personal information, potentially opening the door for workers to be intimidated, threatened or coerced. Now, more than ever, we should be protecting the rights of workers, and my bill does just that by returning decision-making power to the employee and their families."

BACKGROUND: The NLRB’s rule – which goes into full effect today, April 14 – shortens the length of time in which a labor union certification election is held to as little as 11 days. In 2014, more than 95 percent of union certification elections occurred within 56 days. Furthermore, the median number of days from petition to election was 38 days. These numbers surpass the performance goals set by the NLRB itself. The rule gives employers essentially no time to communicate with their employees before a union election and undermines the ability of workers to make an informed decision. In addition, it forces employers to provide employees’ personal information to union organizers without employees’ consent.

The legislative response proposed by Sens. Alexander and Isakson and Reps. Kline and Roe would:

  • Ensure workers have enough time to make an informed decision in a union election by prohibiting any election from taking place in less than 35 days.
  • Provide employers at least 14 days to prepare their case to present before a NLRB election officer and protect the right to raise additional concerns throughout the pre-election hearing.
  • Reassert the board’s responsibility to address critical issues before certifying a union, including voter eligibility and the appropriate unit of employees that will form the union.
  • Empower workers to control their personal information by allowing each employee to determine the personal contact information that is provided to union organizers.

To learn more about the legislation introduced in the House, click here.

To learn more about the legislation introduced in the Senate, click here.

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Press Contact

Margaret Atkinson / Jim Jeffries (Alexander): 202-224-0387