Obama Rejects Republican Effort to Tighten Union Rules

1 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Obama Rejects Republican Effort to Tighten Union Rules.

WASHINGTON — In his latest confrontation with Congress, President Obama on Tuesday blocked Republican efforts to overturn new union-friendly federal regulations issued by his administration. WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama Tuesday rejected a legislation that would have scrapped a National Labor Relations Board rule streamlining union-organizing elections, his fourth veto since taking office and his second since Republicans gained full control of Congress.

In the Memorandum accompanying the pocket veto (a veto occurring while Congress is adjourned), the President states that Congress’s Resolution of Disapproval would “block modest, but overdue reforms to simplify and streamline private sector union elections.” The word “streamline,” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to make simpler or more efficient.” However, when looking at the NLRB’s own data, I am confused as to what needs to be “made simpler or more efficient.” Currently, in over 95 percent of election petitions filed, a union election is held in 60 days or less. The House and Senate passed the resolution earlier this month in largely partisan votes. “Because this resolution seeks to undermine a streamlined democratic process that allows American workers to freely choose to make their voices heard, I cannot support it,” President Obama said in his memorandum of disapproval. The rule, which was completed in December by a five-member board of presidential appointees, represents one of the biggest procedural changes in decades to the federal union-organizing process. The rule pushed by Democrats on the board allows some documents to be filed electronically instead of by mail, and delays legal challenges from employers until after workers cast ballots. More vetoes are sure to come: the White House has issued 17 specific veto threats on bills working their way through Congress, and several others still being drafted in committee.

Republicans say the NLRB rule would permit “ambush” elections which give employers little time to make a counter argument to their employees against unionizing. But as he’s done twice before, he also sent the Senate a veto notice “to leave no doubt that the resolution is being vetoed.” The resolution passed the Senate 53 to 46 and the House 232 to 186, with all Democrats and three Republicans voting no. Republicans and business groups say the changes will unfairly speed the election process and limit the time employers have to run anti-unionization campaigns. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress could still override the veto, although Republicans are well short of the two-thirds majorities necessary. Obama’s veto is technically referred to as a “memorandum of disapproval” that negates the congressional resolution. “Folks at the very top are doing very well,” Mr.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the veto shows that Obama is passing up opportunities to work with the Republican-controlled Congress to help the economy. “Ambush elections don’t help workers. The president has also relied on his own power to make it possible for millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the country, to modify details of his signature health care program and to advance limits on power plant emissions blamed for climate change. The new rules outlined by the National Labor Review Board would simplify the process of holding elections on whether workers want to form a union by allowing electronic filing of documents, reconciling procedures across the country and consolidating appeals to the board into a single process. Employers would also be required to provide unions with personal contact information even for workers who do not want to join. “The N.L.R.B.’s ambush election rule is an assault on the rights and privacy protections of American workers,” the House speaker, John A.

District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging in part that the rule violates federal law by curtailing an employer’s right to communicate with employees. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation, said they collectively represent millions of employers and human-resource professionals at companies that will be subject to the rule. Obama said Tuesday that the NLRB “put forward some common-sense, modest” changes to streamline the union-organizing election process. “Unfortunately, the Republican Senate and House have decided to put forward a proposal to reverse those changes. Obama said unions historically have been at the forefront of establishing things such as the 40-hour workweek, the weekend, and fair benefits and decent wages.

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