On March 4, 2015, by a vote of 53-46 the Senate passed joint resolution S.J. Res. 8 to halt the implementation of the NLRB’s Final Rule, adopted December 2014, regarding representation elections. Colloquially called the “Ambush Election” or “Quickie Election” rule, the Final Rule is scheduled to go into effect on April 14, 2015. The House’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on related bill, H.J. Res. 29, on the same day as the Senate’s vote. It is likely that the Subcommittee will forward the House bill to the floor for a vote in the next several weeks. If H.J. Res. 29 passes, the joint resolution will be presented to President Obama for his signature or veto.
As we have previously reported in prior Alerts and discussed at our annual Employment Law Conference,the NLRB’s new representation election rule significantly shortens the election process timeframe to as few as 11 to 14 days, down from an average of 38 days under the previous election procedures. The joint resolution between the Senate and the House of Representatives indicates Congress’s disapproval of the NLRB’s Final Rule and resolves that it “shall have no force and effect” thereby preventing the Final Rule from being implemented. Sponsors of the joint resolution argue that the Final Rule’s hurried timeframe undermines the employee’s ability to make an informed decision on union representation. The Senate bill’s main sponsor, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has also voiced concern for employees’ privacy as the Final Rule requires employers to provide private personal information, such as personal phone and email addresses, to the union.
If the joint resolution passes the House, the resolution must be signed into law by the President. If President Obama vetoes the bill as the White House signals he intends to do, the Senate will need 67 votes—or approval of 2/3rds of the voting Senators—to override the veto. While the joint resolution continues to wind through the legislature, employers should prepare for the implementation of the NLRB’s Final Rule and anticipate an accelerated election process starting on April 14, 2015.