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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

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Committee Leaders Investigate NLRB’s Decision to Dismiss Certain Secret Ballot Elections

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) have asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to remit documents and information concerning its recent decision to restrict workers’ right to a secret ballot union election. In particular, the committee leaders seek information regarding elections in which workers cast ballots but the outcome remains unannounced, as well as elections requested by workers that will not be held.  

Kline and Roe issued the following statement: 

“Workers who wish to exercise their right to a secret ballot union election have been disenfranchised by the Obama labor board. Just because an employer recognizes a union doesn’t mean workers should have to wait years before casting a secret ballot. Yet that is exactly the reality they now face, thanks to an extreme decision by the NLRB. While the rhetoric of its allies suggests otherwise, the board’s actions are stripping away the rights of workers. The American people deserve to know how many workers will be denied the outcome of their union election and whether the Obama board delayed elections knowing full well the radical shift in policy they would soon pursue.” 

In its 2007 Dana Corporation ruling, the NLRB provided workers 45 days to challenge union representation if their employer voluntarily recognized the union. However, an August decision by the Obama board (Lamons Gasket) overturned the 2007 decision and its important protection for employees. Workers may now have to wait up to four years to cast a ballot to challenge union representation.  

Even more alarming, the August decision was retroactive to all elections that had been held or were scheduled. As Kline and Roe noted in their letter, “It appears that in at least three cases the NLRB collected ballots following workers’ demand for an election, but dismissed the election due to its August decision.  These ballots, cast by employees in the midst of a legitimate election, will never be counted by the NLRB. This is a devastating blow to workers who exercised their rights under the law.” 

To read the full letter, click here.  

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