The House voted yesterday to scrap a rule from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would speed up union elections.  The resolution, doing away with what opponents refer to as the “ambush election” rule, passed the House by a vote along party lines (232-186).  The measure now goes the President’s desk, who has promised to veto it.  The NLRB had finalized the rule on December 15, 2014 and it was scheduled to take effect on April 14.

Opponents call the NLRB rule the “ambush election” rule because it forces a union election before an employer has a chance to figure out what is going on,” said Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Under the seldom-used Congressional Review Act, lawmakers can block any regulation they disprove of from taking effect. This is just the second time in history that both chambers of Congress have approved a disapproval resolution under the Congressional Review Act.  Republicans previously disapproved of a controversial labor rule from the outgoing Clinton administration.

The Senate passed the resolution to block the NLRB rule on March 4, along party lines (53-46).   No Senate Democrats voted for the legislation and only one Republican — Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted against it. A two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate would be required to override a presidential veto.  The Senate is 14 votes shy of the total needed to override the President’s veto.

The rule will make several changes to union election procedures, according to Bloomberg News:

  • Requiring a pre-election hearing to begin eight days after a hearing notice is served.  Current practice for the timing of hearings varies by region.
  • Requiring employers to provide a position statement on any issues they may have with a petition one business day before a hearing opens.  The statement must also include a list of voters and their job details, which is currently not required until after an election is approved.
  • Requiring employers to provide contact information for voters within two days of an election’s approval, including employees’ phone numbers and email addresses.  Contact information is currently limited to home addresses and must be submitted within seven days of an election being approved.
  • Allowing petition, notices and voter lists to be transmitted electronically.
  • Revoking the current automatic delay of an election for 25 to 30 days when a request for a review of an election decision is filed.