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ICYMI: Roe bill would prevent uncertainty in labor-management relations


Tomorrow the House is expected to consider the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120). Sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, the legislation responds to the ongoing legal chaos surrounding the National Labor Relations Board in the wake of President Obama's 2012 non-recess recess appointments.  

In an op-ed published by The Hill, Rep. Roe explains why the current crisis is harmful to the workforce and how his legislation will help stop a bad situation from becoming worse.

This week, the House is scheduled to vote on legislation I introduced to address the ongoing legal chaos that surrounds the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). On January 4, 2012, President Obama made three so-called recess appointments to the NLRB while the Senate was regularly meeting in pro forma session. These appointments were unprecedented—no other president has bypassed the constitutionally-mandated nomination process while the Senate was in session. Although the White House claims such appointments were within the president’s power, the record shows Democrats have opposed such tactics. 

As recently as 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated that over the Thanksgiving holiday, he would be “keeping the Senate in pro forma to prevent recess appointments” that could have been made by President Bush.

By ignoring the constitutional obligation to have the Senate advise and consent to his appointments, President Obama opened the door for a legal challenge to the actions taken by NLRB. On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously held that these appointments violated the Constitution, throwing into question the validity of all rulings made by the NLRB since January 4, 2012. Since the recess appointments, the NLRB has issued roughly 600 decisions, the outcomes of which are now very uncertain. American workers deserve better.

In light of the court decision, I joined Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, and others to write to President Obama, urging him to nominate new appointees to the NLRB and to work with the Senate to confirm them. We also wrote NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce encouraging the NLRB to cease all activity until the legal chaos surrounding the board is resolved. Chairman Pearce, unfortunately, has continued to push ahead with NLRB business despite the fact that every decision made will be subject to legal challenge.

The NLRB is tasked with ensuring American workers have a fair workplace. It conducts union elections and works to prevent (or remedy) unlawful practices on the part of employers or unions. The current NLRB, however, has taken a sharp turn to the left instead of acting as an impartial umpire. We must protect workers and employers alike, and continued Board activity does the exact opposite.

To read the full op-ed, click here.

To learn more about the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act, click here.

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