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Congress Takes First Shot at NLRB Ambush Election Rule

Congress established the National Labor Relations Board as a body made up of neutral arbiters to represent the public in labor disputes. Under the Obama administration, the Board has strayed from its required impartiality to issue rules and decisions that outright favor labor unions over workers and employers.

An example of the Board unfairly administering national labor policy to advance the interests of labor unions is the implementation of its “ambush election” rule. 

Specifically, the amendments to union election procedures significantly favor unions by limiting debate and time workers have to learn about the pros and cons of union representation. It does so by shortening the time frame between the filing of a petition and the date on which the election is conducted to as little as 11 days from a median of 38 days.

Another component of the rule, which inappropriately benefits special interests and jeopardizes worker privacy, compels employers to hand over employees’ private information—cell phone, email address, and work schedule—to union organizers. 

As I note in the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s agenda for Congress, “Government should not have the power to force employers to disclose workers’ contact information to a special-interest group for any cause. That [ambush election] rule would almost certainly expose workers—who would not have the choice of opting out of union organizers’ obtaining their information—to harassment, intimidation, and much higher risk of identity theft.”

Fortunately, on February 9, Republicans in Congress took a first stab at rolling back the activist Board’s regulation by authoring a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that, if passed by simple majority in the House and Senate, would stop the implementation of the rule.

In a press release that announces the resolution to stop the ambush election rule, Representative John Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said “The Obama labor board is moving forward with a radical plan that will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families... Congress must use every available tool to stop this flawed regulatory scheme.”

For legislative solutions to rein-in the activist NLRB see the labor and employment chapter of CEI’s “Free to Prosper” agenda for Congress.