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The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act: Protecting Workers’ Free Choice



THE PROBLEM:

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ambush election rule will dramatically alter long-standing policies governing union elections. The board’s rule will significantly shorten the time between the filing of a petition for a union election and the election date by:

  • Giving workers as few as 11 days to consider all the consequences of joining a union before they have to vote in the election.
               
  • Providing employers just seven days to find legal counsel and prepare their entire case to be presented at pre-election hearing convened by an NLRB election officer.
                        
  • Delaying answers to important questions – such as voter eligibility – until after workers have cast their ballots, and limiting an employer’s ability to raise additional issues or concerns throughout the pre-election hearing process.

Because of these dramatic changes, the board’s rule stifles employer free speech and cripples worker free choice. As one committee witness testified, “[workers’] rights have been abandoned by the new rule. As a result of quickie elections, employees may not be able to hear all the facts they need to know about risks of unionization. To the detriment of employees, the new rule imposes built-in obstacles which prevent or impede reasoned and informed choices by employees.”

THE SOLUTION:

To protect workers’ right to make an informed decision in union elections, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act. The legislation will codify long-standing NLRB election procedures, preventing an activist board from implementing sweeping changes on the workplace.

WORKFORCE DEMOCRACY AND FAIRNESS ACT:

  • Guarantees workers the ability to make a fully informed decision in a union election. No union election will be held in less than 35 days. Workers will have a chance to hear both sides of the debate and important issues that can determine how a worker votes will be decided before ballots are cast.
                        
  • Ensures employers are able to participate in a fair union election process. The bill provides employers at least 14 days to prepare their case to present before a NLRB election officer and protects their right to raise additional concerns throughout the pre-election hearing.
                             
  • Reasserts the board’s responsibility to address critical issues before a union is allowed to represent workers. The board must determine the appropriate group of employees to include in the union before the union is certified, as well as address any questions of voter eligibility.

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act will rein in the activist NLRB and restore protections workers and job-creators have received for decades.

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