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Capitol Hill Update

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On Feb. 16, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY, below left), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and a former SHRM member, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA, below right), introduced resolutions of disapproval in their respective chambers to nullify the NLRB’s final rule on “quick elections.” As we go to print, the resolutions — Senate Joint Resolution 36 and House Joint Resolution 103 — have 43 Senate cosponsors and 64 House cosponsors, respectively. SHRM supports both of these resolutions and will be advocating with other groups for their enactment.      

Each resolution is based on the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), which allows the Senate and House to consider a joint resolution of disapproval that features the force of law to stop a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation. Advancing such a resolution requires only a simple majority (51 votes) to pass the Senate, not the usual 60 votes to defeat a filibuster to bring the measure to a final vote. If the CRA resolution passed both the House and Senate, it could still be vetoed by President Obama. If that were the case, both the House and Senate would have to muster a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override the president’s veto.

As reported in an earlier HR Issues Update, the NLRB on Dec. 21, 2011, issued a final rule that will dramatically change the NLRB’s union election procedures. The rule is scheduled to take effect on Apr. 30, 2012. Specifically, the rule could effectively shorten the time from union petition to election to as little as 14-20 days from the current median time of 38 days, reducing the amount of time employers could share their views of the organizing effort with their employees. The rule will also limit the evidence that can be presented at a pre-election hearing, which may leave important questions unresolved prior to a union election — such as which employees’ votes will count in the election.

As noted above, SHRM supports the adoption of Senate Joint Resolution 36 and House Joint Resolution 103, and members will be advocating that position in meetings with their legislators on March 7 during SHRM’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference. Look for other advocacy opportunities on both resolutions in the coming days!

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