• U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R.-Calif., denounced NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe F. Solomon for “continuously obstruct[ing]” the panel’s ongoing investigation of the NLRB’s unfair labor practice complaint against Boeing Co. In a letter to Solomon, Rep. Issa accused him of withholding documents sought in an August 5 subpoena, and of making misrepresentations to the panel. In particular, Rep. Issa charged that NLRB officials released Boeing-related documents in response to a private organization’s FOIA request, but had not yet turned those documents over to the committee. Rep. Issa requested the Solomon make six agency officials, including the agency’s special counsel for congressional and intergovernmental affairs, available for committee interviews next month to aid in “understanding the extent of the NLRB’s continued obstruction” of the panel’s investigation.
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., introduced legislation (S. 1666) that would prohibit the NLRB from implementing the final rule it promulgated in August requiring employers to post notice regarding how to establish a union. According to Sen. Thune, the rule, currently set to take effect January 31, 2012, is “another example of a federal overreach” and part of “the NLRB’s ‘pro-big labor’ agenda.” The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Rep. Ben Quayle, R.-Ariz., introduced companion legislation (H.R. 2833) in the House of Representatives.
  • Rep. John Kline, R.-Minn., introduced the Workplace Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094), which would mandate that no union election be held in fewer than 35 days and would restrict which employees could vote in a union election. The proposed bill would also restrict how a union may contact prospective members and would require a two-week waiting period between the filing of a petition and the first hearing on the matter. Rep. Kline introduced the bill in response to the NLRB’s proposed rule, introduced in June, that would allow electronic petition filing, require parties to hold a pre-election hearing within seven days of filing a petition, require employers to provide worker email addresses and telephone numbers to union organizers, and postpone certain challenges until after the election, among other changes.
  • The AFL-CIO, the International Association of Machinists, and the United Steelworkers rallied with lawmakers against pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The labor organizations challenged the administration’s claims that the trade agreements would result in net job gains, claiming instead that 159,000 jobs would be lost because of the agreement with Korea alone. In addition, union leaders objected to recent violence against trade unionists in Colombia.
  • The DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards promulgated a final rule concerning the financial disclosure reports that union officers and employees must file. Published in the Federal Register on October 26, the rule modifies Form LM-30, the Labor Organization Officer and Employee Report, an annual financial disclosure form that must be filed by union officials and union employees who receive payments from or have financial arrangements with union-represented employers or businesses with employees that the union is seeking to represent. The form’s purpose is to disclose publicly possible conflicts between the personal financial interests of union officials and union employees and their duty to the union and its members. Although the final rule expands reporting requirements for some high-level union employers, it generally restores the reporting requirements that were in place prior to a 2007 revision that required more extensive reporting (including by union stewards and union members who receive pay under no-docking agreements).
  • The NLRB postponed the effective date for its final rule requiring employers to post notice of employees’ right to unionize. The rule had been set to take effect on November 14 but will now take effect January 31, 2012. The postponement came after a federal judge requested more time to consider arguments challenging the rule in litigation brought by the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers. The NLRB said that the delay was “to allow for enhanced education and outreach,” particularly to small and medium-sized businesses.