Senate Bill Seeks to Reform the National Labor Relations Board

So, earlier this week it was all about House Republicans introducing legislation to constrain the enforcement efforts of the EEOC.

Now, it seems that some Senate Republicans are taking aim at the National Labor Relations Board, according to this story from Ramsey Cox at TheHill.com.

Ms. Cox reports that, if the Republicans control the Senate following the November elections, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, will make revamping the National Labor Relations Board a top priority.

“The board is too partisan”

In comments made on the Senate floor, Tuesday, Sen. McConnell said, “It’s not right [that] Big Labor bosses want [the liberal Board] because it helps them expand and acquire more dues at the expense of small business owners, who employ so many Americans.”

He further warned, “The NLRB action could have ‘devastating impacts on my ability to create jobs, grow my businesses and support my community.'”

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, added,

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The board is too partisan, swinging from one side to the other with each new administration — taking employers and employees on a wild ride. And while this didn’t start with President Obama, it’s gotten worse as he’s loaded the board with union insiders. It’s time for the board to restore stability to workplaces in Tennessee and throughout the country — with nonpartisan decisions made more quickly, assisted by a neutral general counsel.”

What the legislation will do

So, Sen. Alexander has introduced the NLRB Reform Act. In a press release, Sen. Alexander summarized the high points of the bill. The legislation will:

  • End partisan advocacy — To put an end to the partisanship, this legislation would increase the number of board members from five to six, requiring an even split between Republicans and Democrats. All decisions would require the agreement of four board members, resulting in consensus from both sides. Over time, the president would nominate a Republican and a Democrat at the same time to fill those seats.
  • Rein in the NLRB General Counsel — The board’s most recent general counsels have stretched federal labor law to its limits — and sometimes beyond. With this bill, parties will have 30 days to seek review of a general counsel’s complaint in federal district court and will have new discovery rights allowing them to obtain memorandum and other documents relevant to the complaint within 10 days.
  • Encourage timely decision-making — The NLRB is taking too long to resolve cases. Under the NLRB Reform Act, either party in a case before the board may appeal to a Federal Court of Appeals if the board fails to reach a decision in their case within one year. To further incentivize speedy decision-making, funding for the entire NLRB would be reduced by 20 percent if the board is not able to decide 90 percent of its cases within one year over the first two-year period post-reform.

You can view a copy of the bill here, and a one-pager summarizing the bill here.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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