Committee Approves Legislative Response to Ongoing NLRB Legal Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20, 2013
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today approved legislation requiring the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to cease all activity requiring a three member quorum until the legal crisis surrounding the board is appropriately resolved. Introduced by Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120) was approved by a vote of 23 to 15.
“Last year’s unprecedented recess appointment scheme has rendered the board dysfunctional,” said Chairman Kline. “The best way to avoid further damage is for the president to work with the Senate to confirm a full slate of qualified nominees. In the meantime, Congress must take action to prevent a bad situation from becoming much worse. H.R. 1120 is an appropriate congressional response that will help ensure America’s workplaces aren’t forced to confront even more uncertainty.”
“Every decision issued by the current board is ripe for legal challenge on the basis the board itself is not legitimate,” said Rep. Roe. “Workers, employers, and unions rely upon the board to ensure their rights are protected. Unfortunately, everyone is now stuck in a state of legal limbo. A board decision provides little comfort when the board is not recognized as constitutionally valid in a significant federal appeals court. Congress cannot stand by and allow this legal chaos to grow and my legislation ensures we don’t have to.”
In January 2012 President Obama installed three so-called recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board while Congress was not in recess. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently ruled these appointments unconstitutional. In the wake of the court decision, legal uncertainty surrounding the board has increased. Unions and employers cite the court decision in their efforts to void or block board rulings. The AFL-CIO stated the ruling has “seriously undermined enforcement of the law.”
As approved by the committee, H.R. 1120 will:
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