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Capitol Hill Update

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Earlier today, April 12, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SHRM-supported H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act, by a vote of 219 to 209. The bill is sponsored by Rep. David Roe (R-TN) and now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The proposal was brought up in response to the federal court case Noel Canning v. NLRB, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held on Jan. 25 that President Obama’s three January 2012 “recess appointments” (Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin) to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were made while the Senate was not in recess. Despite the Noel Canning ruling, these NLRB members have not stepped down, and the NLRB continues to issue decisions -- despite the substantial question of whether the NLRB’s recent and future actions have the force of law.

The NLRB announced March 12, 2013, that it will seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the federal court’s decision in Noel Canning, which ensures the validity of all NLRB actions will be in question for several more months or years. This creates needless uncertainty for employers and employees.

SHRM supports H.R. 1120 because it simply puts NLRB activity on hold until federal courts resolve the recess appointment uncertainty. SHRM believes the bill will provide clarity to HR professionals on the application of hundreds of NLRB rulings promulgated since the January 2012 appointments. SHRM strongly supports balanced public policy in labor-management relations, and therefore is also pleased that H.R. 1120 does not prevent NLRB regional offices from either enforcing the National Labor Relations Act based on prior, valid decisions or processing unfair labor practice charges filed by an employee, employer or union.

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