The new Republican majority in both houses of Congress is trying to slow what it sees as the negative impact on the economy of continuing attacks on employers by the National Labor Relations Board. In early February, a joint resolution to block the NLRB's new "quickie election" rule, issued in December with an April 14 effective date, was introduced by Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate. The Senate Committee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the rule on February 11. Witnesses generally testified that the rule would make it difficult for employees to make an informed choice and for employers, particularly small employers, to communicate lawfully with advice of counsel given the "rush" to election. Some witnesses also indicated that the rule improperly compromises the privacy interests of the employees involved, as unions will be entitled to personal information to contact employees.
Many, if not most, objective commentators see the new rule as an effort by the NLRB to give unions a leg up in organizing efforts. The joint resolution is a little-used mechanism to challenge administrative action under the Congressional Review Act and is not subject to Senate filibuster. If successful, the resolution is likely to be vetoed by President Obama.
NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce issued a statement in response to the introduction of the joint resolution, saying that the Board will continue to discuss the rule but asserting that the Board's representation case process is overdue for "modernization" and "streamlining." Chairman Pearce asserted that the rule provides a process that is "effective, fair, and free of unnecessary delays."
The HELP Committee also held a hearing in February on the NLRB's current effort to change its "joint employer" standard. Witnesses opposing the proposed standard generally testified that the Board's proposed position threatens job growth, asserting that the franchise business model as well as many businesses that use or provide contract services will be negatively affected.