On Thursday, Congress passed a resolution aimed at limiting so-called “ambush elections” for union representation, but the legislation is expected to be vetoed by President Obama with the fourth veto of his Presidency.
The Congressional resolution, which was spear-headed by the GOP, would overturn a new union rule that greatly expedites the process for electing union representation.
Currently, unions are forced to wait 25 days after filing a petition before they can hold a representation election. The new rule, which was enacted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last year and is set to take effect next month, would nearly halve the current wait time, and allow unions to hold an election just two weeks after filing.
Opponents of the new rule assert that it would put businesses at a great disadvantage, and limit their ability to hold discussions, express their views, and encourage a debate regarding unionization.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most vocal opponents, said in a statement that the rule “ignores both employers’ free speech rights and significantly impacts employees’ freedom of choice.”
“The new rule will stack the deck against employers while depriving employees of information they need to make a rational choice regarding unionization.”
To stop the rule, Congress resorted to using the Congressional Review Act, a seldom-used tool that allows legislators to block any regulation from going into effect.
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn), one of the sponsors of the bill, charged that the “Obama administration’s activist NLRB” has now “put the interests of labor unions before those of job creators and American workers.”
The NRLB countered that the new rule represents the agency “modernizing its rules in light of modern technology, making its procedures more transparent and uniform across regions, and eliminating unnecessary litigation and delay.”
Labor groups have also come out in support of the new rule, with the AFL-CIO saying in a statement that the rule will “help reduce delay in the process and make it easier for workers to vote on forming a union in a timely manner.”
“We commend the NLRB’s efforts to streamline the process and reduce unnecessary delay.”
If Obama does veto the bill, it would be the second time he has used his veto power since Republicans took control of the Senate this year.