WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 26, 2011 -
Before I explain the technical changes made in the substitute, I’d like to thank my colleagues for their participation at our recent legislative hearing. We assembled an excellent panel of witnesses whose experience and expertise were important contributions to the committee’s work.
During that hearing, a number of concerns were raised by my Democratic colleagues, and I am pleased to say the substitute makes several technical changes to the underlying bill that to lay those concerns to rest.
First, the substitute ensures that years of labor policies affecting the acute health care industry remain in place. In 1987, the NLRB began an extensive rulemaking process to help determine the appropriate bargaining units in the health care industry. At that time, the board held numerous public hearings and received thousands of pages of oral testimony and written comments. The rule was finalized after nearly two years of board work and public participation.
The result was a standard that has guided employers, workers, and unions for more than two decades. The substitute ensures that this responsible standard continues to provide certainty to the nation’s workforce.
Second, the substitute clarifies that only relevant and material issues are raised during the course of the pre-election hearing. This will prevent employers and unions from clogging up the hearing process with concerns unrelated to the union election.
Finally, the amendment reaffirms the board’s responsibility to grant or deny requests to review the actions of regional directors before the election. Like our federal court system, labor law should provide individuals with the ability to appeal decisions rendered by an NLRB regional director. This has been the board’s practice for years, and the substitute amendments guarantees this remains the practice for years to come.
In closing, let me state once more that the fundamental purpose of the legislation is to roll back the recent activist decisions of the board. On August 26, the National Labor Relations Board ushered in a new era of labor policy. The negative consequences of those actions will only intensify if the board is allowed to finalize its ambush election proposal.
The substitute amendment and the underlying legislation merely restore to workers and employers the protections they have long received; the same protections they enjoyed on August 25, the day before the NLRB launched their most recent assault on the nation’s workforce.
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