By Kevin Bogardus - 10/25/11 12:15 AM EDT
House Republicans are again moving forward with legislation to limit the power of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee is scheduled to mark up legislation sponsored by its chairman, Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.). The bill, known as the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, would negate several of the labor board’s actions this year, including a proposed regulation to speed up union elections.
“Congress cannot allow an activist NLRB to trample on the rights of workers and employers. The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act is desperately needed to rein in the Obama board and reaffirm workforce protections that have been in place for decades,” Kline said in a statement.
House Democrats have blasted the bill, saying it will undermine workers’ rights. Labor has also spoken out against the legislation, urging lawmakers not to vote for it.
Kline’s bill would prevent union elections from being held until at least 35 days after a petition is filed.
The Minnesota Republican has said the NLRB’s proposed union election rule could lead to union elections being held in as little as 10 days, giving little time for employers and workers to fully understand the implications of unionizing.
Further, Kline’s legislation will void a NLRB ruling made earlier this year that allowed smaller bargaining units to form unions.
It will also allow employees to choose what personal contact information they will share with employers and unions when a union’s organizing campaign begins at their worksite.
Kline’s bill is the latest effort by House Republicans to curb the labor board’s authority.
Last month, the House passed legislation by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) that would forbid the labor board from ordering a company where to relocate its employment. That legislation came in response to the NLRB’s April 20 complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers.
That complaint has set off an intense lobbying campaign against the labor board. Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a round of television ads in Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia that criticized the NLRB for its Boeing complaint.
The committee will likely pass Kline’s bill Wednesday, setting up a full House vote for later this year. The NLRB’s proposed union election rule has been identified as one of the Obama administration’s 10 most harmful regulations by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
The legislation is almost certainly dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Scott’s bill has not been taken up by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and it’s not likely he will consider Kline’s bill, either.