Committee Rejects Bid to Overturn Ambush Elections and Micro-Unions
By J. Craig Shearman
Washington Retail Insight
June 14, 2012
The Senate Appropriations Committee today rejected an amendment that would have blocked funding to implement controversial National Labor Relations Board regulations allowing unions to hold “ambush” organizing elections.
The amendment, offered by Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was voted down 17-13. Another Graham amendment to block implementation of a ruling allowing the formation of micro-unions failed on a tie vote of 15-15.
“The NLRB is the Grim Reaper of job creation,” Graham said prior to the votes. “On issue after issue, the NLRB is destroying jobs and making the United States uncompetitive in the international marketplace.”
NRF supported the amendments, sending a letter to senators saying ambush elections and micro-unions “pose a serious threat to the health of the U.S. economy.”
“Please reject this backdoor card-check agenda by a board of unelected bureaucrats and restore balance to the organizing process so that we can start removing the economic uncertainty facing both employers and employees,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said.
Under the ambush regulations, a union organizing election could be held in as little as 14 days, down from the current median of 37 days for most elections and an average 101 days for those involving legal challenges filed by employers.
A federal judge struck down the regulations in May, saying the NLRB lacked a quorum when only two members, both Democrats, voted on their adoption in December. But the board has asked the judge to reconsider, saying the third member, Republican Brian Hayes, was effectively present under the rules of the board’s electronic voting system even though he did not cast a vote.
The micro-union ruling, handed down last summer, allows unions to organize units as small as a department within a store, and is the subject of a case currently pending in New York involving Bergdorf Goodman.
“The inevitable outcome of similar decisions is that some businesses will be compelled to deal with multiple small units within one location, all possibly being represented by different unions,” French wrote. “Not only is such a structure incompatible with the operation of a successful business, it is likely to foster confusion and conflict within the workforce.”
© 2012 National Retail Federation
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