GOP moves to block union election rule

Senate Republicans sought Monday to employ the little-used Congressional Review Act in a bid to block the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from speeding up union elections.

The statute empowers Congress to overturn executive branch regulations it doesn’t like, provided enough lawmakers sign on to the effort.

A trio of top GOP lawmakers introduced a motion of disapproval against what they refer to as the NLRB’s “ambush” election rule, issued last year.

{mosads}“This rule is a solution in search of a problem,” Senate Labor Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Monday on the floor.

Alexander joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in introducing the measure.

The NLRB approved the controversial rule over fierce objections from Republicans and business groups, who assailed the regulation as a handout to unions.

Democrats and labor officials say the rule will prevent companies from needlessly delaying union elections and intimidating workers.

NLRB Board Chairman Mark Pearce defended the rule Monday afternoon, calling it long “overdue.” 

“As Congress considers this resolution, this agency will continue productive conversations about the rule ensuring that our processes help fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act,” Pearce said in a statement.

McConnell said the rule is not only an “insult to entrepreneurs” but could also rush employees to make a decision about whether to unionize. He said workers may ultimately regret a hasty decision after they have to pay union dues that, he suggested, are spent on politics.

“In an era of stagnant wages, does a worker want to see her paycheck shrink so a political boss can attend more campaign fundraisers?” McConnell asked.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), longtime critics of the NLRB, are coordinating with the senators to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval in the lower chamber.

There is strong Republican support for the measure in both chambers, but those efforts are unlikely to overcome a White House veto. President Obama would likely block the motion of disapproval, and Republicans would have a difficult time finding enough Democratic support to overturn a veto.

Assuming all Republicans are behind a disapproval measure, the GOP would need 13 Democrats in the Senate and 45 Democrats in the House to override the president.

The NLRB reintroduced the election rule last February after it was previously struck down in federal court for procedural reasons.

Currently, it takes an average of 38 days to hold a union election from the time a petition is filed, but business groups speculate that it could happen in as few as 10 days under the new rules.

Enzi called it a “sneak attack” on businesses, which say they don’t have enough time to prepare for union elections.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and other business groups last month filed a lawsuit against the NLRB challenging the election rule.  

Tags Lamar Alexander Mike Enzi Mitch McConnell

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