Top Democrats Urge National Labor Relations Board to Protect Workers’ Right to Unionize

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and nine other Democrats submitted a public comment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about their request for information on whether to retain, rescind, or modify the 2014 Election Rule. The Obama-era rule streamlined the NLRB’s process for union elections, eliminating unnecessary litigation and delays which companies have used to suppress workers from organizing. Ranking Members Murray and Scott have repeatedly asked the Board for relevant information on how the 2014 Rule was working so the public can see whether it needs to be changed.  The limited evidence the Board has produced clearly disproves business groups’ critiques of the rule—making it clear that this attempt to roll back the rule is simply a political attempt to make it harder for workers to join a union.  


“After a series of last-minute and unprecedented actions by the Board last year, it’s no surprise to see the Republican-controlled Board is once again attempting to roll back worker protections without any evidence or reasoning other than appeasing corporate special interests,” said Senator Murray. “Unions helped create the middle class, and I hope the Board will guarantee workers free and fair elections so they are able to collectively bargain for better pay, safer working conditions, and a chance to join the middle class.”


“The Board appears to lack any substantive, evidence-based grounds to reopen the 2014 Election Rule. This action indicates an intent to appease employers who want every tool possible to defeat workers’ efforts to form a union, instead of ensuring the fairness of the union representation process,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott. “Research shows that the longer an election is delayed, the more likely an unscrupulous employer is to engage in coercive tactics that chill support for the union. Every court where the Rule was challenged has rejected arguments from corporate interests opposing the NLRB’s Rule, including the contention that the Rule would somehow ‘ambush’ employers.”


The major points made in the comment letter are:

  • The Board’s previous election rules enabled employers to game the system by burdening pre-election hearings with frivolous motions and unnecessary delays. 
  • The 2014 Election Rule has reduced unnecessary delays in the Board’s election procedures, without imposing unfair burdens on employers and employees.
  • The 2014 Election Rule better protects employees’ free and fair choice of bargaining representative by updating the rules encouraging an informed election by the employees.
  • The Board has provided no data to justify reconsidering the 2014 Election Rule.
  • Rescinding the 2014 Election Rule would be inconsistent with the United States’ commitments under international law.


See here for full text of the letter.


For links to the data made available to Congress by the National Labor Relations Board, click here.