House Joins Senate in Passing Resolution to Disapprove New NLRB Election Rule

By Stephanie Dodge Gournis, Bruce Stickler, and Shavaun Taylor

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-186 in favor of passing a resolution to disapprove the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB’s”) new “quickie election” rule, which becomes effective April 14 and is expected to give unions a decided “edge” in winning union representation elections. The House’s vote comes as no surprise and follows a similar March 4th vote by the Senate also disapproving the NLRB’s election rule. The White House has announced that President Obama will veto the joint Congressional resolution.

A Republican-led Congress came out strongly against the new rule when the NLRB finalized the election rule in December 2014. Dubbing it an “ambush election” rule, Congress quickly sought to disapprove the new election rule under the Congressional Review Act, with top Republicans on the Senate Labor Committee citing major concerns such as the speed in which elections would progress and privacy issues arising from forced disclosure of employee personnel information.

Upon passing the resolution (S.J. Res. 8), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) stated “The board’s ambush election rule will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families. The House and Senate have firmly rejected this radical scheme.”

Lawsuits have also been filed to challenge the legal sufficiency of the NLRB’s election rule. On January 5, the US Chambers of Commerce filed a complaint against the NLRB over the election rule in the DC Federal District Court.  This is the same court that struck down the NLRB’s prior attempt to implement new election rules in 2011. At that time, the U.S. District Court held that the rule had been finalized without a necessary quorum of at least three validly appointed NLRB Members. Business groups in Texas, including the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, Inc., filed suit in a federal court in Texas also challenging the NLRB’s new election rule.

Despite attack on two fronts, the NLRB shows no signs of withdrawing or postponing the election rule’s effective date. To the contrary, the NLRB actively is moving forward with implementation efforts, and began training all NLRB regional office employees on the new rule beginning March 16. Regional offices will offer educational meetings to labor practitioners from March 23 through April 13. Likewise, employers should begin to prepare for implementation of the new election rule, by reviewing and updating labor relations policies and practices for responding to a likely increase in union organizing campaigns.