Following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s finding in Noel Canning v. NLRB that President Obama’s three January 2012 recess appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional, the Senate reacted by introducing a number of measures that take aim at the Board’s current authority.
The NLRB Freeze Act of 2013 (S. 180) introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) would prevent the Board from enforcing rules, regulations and decisions issued since January 2012. Similarly, the Advice and Consent Restoration Act (S. 188) introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) would prevent the NLRB recess appointees from receiving salaries, as well as block the Board from taking any action until the appointees are legally confirmed. Such Board actions include:
any determination, hearing, investigation, direction of election, certification, order, rule, regulation, or review of any determination, until the date on which final judgment is entered in all cases challenging the constitutionality of the purported appointment of individuals to such Board that are pending before a Federal court on the date of enactment of this Act.
Sens. Mike Johanns (R-NE), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Restoring the Constitutional Balance of Power Act of 2013 (S. 190), a bill that would prohibit the NLRB as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from enforcing or implementing decisions and regulations without a constitutionally confirmed Board or Director. Like the three contested NLRB members, the director of the CFPB was a January 4, 2012 recess appointee.
Another labor-related bill, the National Right-to-Work Act (S. 204), was also introduced last week by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). As discussed in a press release issued by Sen. Paul’s office, the purpose of this measure is to “preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.” Specifically, this bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to repeal the provisions in these Acts that permit employers, pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement that is a union security agreement, to require employees to join a union as a condition of employment, and require the payroll deduction of union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
All of these bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.