The House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee has countered the National Labor Relation Board’s recent rule with the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, and a legislative hearing for the bill was held on Oct. 12.
H.R. 3094, introduced by committee chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), addresses the NLRB’s rule that would shorten the time workers have to make an informed decision in union elections and permit certain categories of employees, such as nurses, dining staff, or maintenance crews to form “micro-unions.”
This not only leads to a fractured workplace, but also likely increases costs substantially for employers and health care providers, Paul Williams, senior director of government relations for the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) told SHN.
The NLRB is “wreaking havoc on the nation’s workforce and it must be stopped,” Kline said during the legislative hearing.
The legislation would reinstate traditional standards for determining workers qualified to vote in a union election and give them at least 35 days before the union election to hear both sides of the debate, rather than the NLRB’s proposal that would allow elections to be held in as few as 10 days.
The House bill would also give employers at least 14 days to prepare their case for presentation in front of an NLRB election officer and would allow employees to control what kinds of contact information to which the unions would have access.
ALFA has been vocal in opposing the rule, and supports Kline’s bill.
“Recent decisions by the NLRB clearly indicate its lack of concern for holding fair union elections respecting the rights of employees and employers,” said Richard P. Grimes, president and CEO of ALFA, in a statement. “Chairman Kline’s bill will restore much needed balance between employers and unions.”
If the bill is passed, it will halt the “ambush elections” that would probably stem from the rule, said Williams, and reverse the Specialty Healthcare decision.
“These types of decision should be made by the Congress, they should not be made by unelected agencies like the NLRB that are in effect assuming the role of Congress,” said Williams. “What they’ve done is circumvent decades of established rules.”
The number of cosponsors for the bill has risen from 14 to 19, all of whom are Republican. After the Wednesday hearing, several committee Republicans weighed in, and while most support the original intentions of the NLRB, some think it has gone too far.
“What we don’t support is an activist NLRB. It has lost all pretense of objectivity,” said Representative and cosponsor Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). “When you lose objectivity, you have to be reined in,… in a responsible and fair way. Chairman Kline’s bill does that. I support it fully.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace