Republicans demand meeting on union election rule

Republican lawmakers are demanding a meeting with the head of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over a controversial union election rule.

Two House Republicans sent a letter Thursday to NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce requesting a meeting on Feb. 11 to discuss the board's revival of a rule aimed at speeding up union votes.

"Despite opposition from Congress, employers, and employees, on February 6, 2014, the NLRB published a new rule that includes the same misguided policies," wrote Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.).

"We are concerned that, like its predecessor, this rule will seriously limit employer free speech and undermine employee free choice," they wrote.

The NLRB reintroduced the union election rule on Wednesday, more than a year after a previous version was struck down in court.

Labor groups say the rule would prevent unnecessary delays that slow down the voting process during union elections. But Republican lawmakers say it would allow unions to “ambush” employers with organizing petitions.

Kline and Roe said businesses and workers would both "suffer" from the "misguided" rule.

"The concerns raised strongly suggest both workers and employers will suffer as a result of the proposed rule," they wrote.

The NLRB believes the rule stands a better chance of holding up in court this time around because, unlike the earlier version, it was issued with a full quorum of five board members. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg struck down the earlier version of the regulation on the grounds that only two board members participated in adopting it — not the required three to form a quorum.

“These proposals are intended to improve the process for all parties, in all cases, whether non-union employees are seeking a union to represent them or unionized employees are seeking to decertify a union,” Pearce said in a statement when the rule was announced. 

House Republicans have challenged a number of what they see as unfair policies from the NLRB under the Obama administration. In 2011, Kline's committee pushed the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would have prevented the agency from speeding up union elections. But the legislation never made it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate.