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Committee Leaders Urge NLRB to Extend Comment Period for Ambush Election Rule

House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking the board to extend the public comment period for the controversial ambush election proposal.

Citing uncertainty confronting workers, employers, and unions, the leaders asked the board to allow the public more time to consider the full effect of the proposed rule:  

Since this rule was initially proposed in 2011, the standard for determining the appropriateness of union bargaining units has changed significantly. On August 26, 2011 in Specialty Healthcare, the NLRB majority, with then-Board Member Brian Hayes dissenting, overturned 30 years of precedent and adopted a new standard for determining the appropriateness of union bargaining units.

The public deserves a better explanation of how the Board will apply Specialty Healthcare; however, it is unlikely that either of the cases currently before the Board will be decided or the general counsel's memorandum will be issued before the close of the proposed rule's comment period. As such, we request a 30-day extension of the comment period to ensure the public has adequate time to understand and comment on the proposed rule, as well as discuss the broader effect of Specialty Healthcare.

To read the letter, click here.

BACKGROUND: In February the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) re-issued their “ambush election” proposed rule, which will dramatically alter long-standing policies governing union elections by significantly shortening the time between the filing of a petition for a union election and the election date. As one committee witness recently testified, the rule “needlessly alters the delicate balance that exists in current law that provides for the opportunity for an employee to make an educated and informed decision.”

The impact of the proposed rule is made even more uncertain by the board’s decision in Specialty Healthcare, in which the board abandoned 30 years of commonsense labor policies and changed the basis on which union bargaining units are determined. The combination of the ambush election rule and the board’s decision in Specialty Healthcare threaten to unsettle union election policies that have helped protect workers’ rights for decades.

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