Curb on Labor Board’s Speedy Union-Vote Plan Advances in House

A Republican-led House committee approved legislation blocking the National Labor Relations Board’s plan to hold union elections as soon as 10 days after a request from workers.

The House Education and Workforce Committee backed a bill, 23-16, that would delay a worker vote until at least 35 days after employees seek to form a union. Businesses said the board’s plan for a vote within 10 to 21 days would prevent them from making a case against a union. Labor officials said the proposal removes obstacles that deny workers a chance to vote.

“We will not stand by and allow a board of bureaucrats to impose sweeping changes to our economy, especially in the midst of the current national jobs crisis,” Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican and chairman of the committee. said today during the committee’s debate on the measure.

Kline is leading Republicans in seeking to curtail the board’s power after the NLRB in April sued Chicago-based Boeing Co. for building a factory in nonunion South Carolina to retaliate for strikes at its Seattle-area hub. The House passed a bill on Sept. 15 targeting that action. Boeing said it didn’t violate labor laws.

The measure approved today seeks to curb board actions that make it easier to form a union. The NLRB on June 21 proposed removing “unnecessary barriers” in response to union complaints about delays holding elections. The median time for an election is 38 days, according to the agency.

Small Group Organizing

The legislation also makes it harder for small groups of employees to organize a union at a company. The board on Aug. 30 approved smaller collective bargaining units at health-care facilities, which business groups have said will make it easier for unions to make inroads at companies.

“This bill will not create a single job,” said Representative George Miller, a California Democrat. “This bill will not provide help to the millions of Americans struggling with stubbornly high unemployment.”

The bill must be approved by the full House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, and signed by President Barack Obama to become law.

The bill is H.R. 3094.

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