As expected, President Obama on Tuesday vetoed a joint resolution previously approved by the House and Senate to block implementing the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rules regarding union elections.  Opponents of the NLRB rule refer to it as the “ambush election” rule and charge that the regulatory changes would disadvantage both employers and employees by rushing elections and making it harder for employers and employees to consider the important question of whether workers should choose union representation..  The NLRB adopted the rule changes in December, and the rules set to take effect April 14.

Under the Congressional Review Act, which is seldom used, lawmaker may block any regulation they disprove of from taking effect.  The Senate adopted he disapproval resolution of the NLRB regulatory action on March 4 by a vote of 53-46.  The House passed an identical measure on March 19 by a vote of 232-186.

President Obama signed a presidential “memorandum of disapproval” stating that he was withholding his approval of the Congressional Review Act resolution.  Asserting that the Congressional Review Act resolution “seeks to undermine a streamlined democratic process that allows American workers to freely choose to make their voices heard,” the president said, “I cannot support it.”  “One of the freedoms of folks here in the United States is that, if they choose to join a union, they should be able to do so.  And we shouldn’t be making it impossible for that to happen,” the president said.

Congress is in recess until the Senate and House return on April 13.  “The president’s partisan veto will further empower political bosses at the expense of the rights of middle-class workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  “We’ll continue to stand strong against Obama administration attempts to weaken workers’ rights in order to enrich its powerful political friends,” McConnell said.

Business groups have filed two lawsuits challenging the NLRB rule changes.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  In addition, several Texas groups filed a second lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western Division of Texas.  Neither court has scheduled a hearing or announced a timetable for ruling in either case.

In its most recent employment law bulletin, the law firm of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine have provided a strategic response plan to ambush union elections, which is available here.