JUNE 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News
Labor community grateful for President Obama’s support
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, May 31st- While most within the labor community in the nation disagree with President Barack Obama’s support for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPPTA), a measure meant to ease trade restrictions Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunie, Singapore, and Canada, they are grateful for support of the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules regarding representation election that took effect on April 14th.
Businesses throughout the nation have made it clear they are worried about the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that will expedite representation elections through the agency.In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported that the labor community applauded President Barack Obama’s veto of a Republican led resolution that would have overturned the NLRB rule that will expedite representation elections.
Mr. Obama’s veto was seen as a victory for the labor community, and the Democrats in the United States Congress. The resolution to overturn the new rules was passed by both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate in March. The anti-union legislation was supported and passed by mainly members of the Republican party.
The new rules, which was created by the five-member NLRB in Washington DC in December, is intended to streamline NLRB conducted Representation Elections. The labor community has complained for years that the current process favors companies, mainly larger employers, that have used the procedures of the old system to often delay, sometimes for months or years, of having the election conducted by the NLRB, which oversees the election. The tactic often is used to stall NLRB elections, especially when it appears the union would likely win.
Republicans were unable to override President Obama’s veto because there were not enough Senate Republicans in the chamber. There are 54 Republican seats in the Senate and under the chamber rules 67 is needed to override a presidential veto.
Under NLRB rules, at least 30 percent of a unit of workers must request the agency conduct an election. In the election at least 50 percent plus one of the eligible to participate employees must vote to be represented by a labor organization to become their bargaining representative for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Mr. Obama has made it clear he will sign TPPTA into law should if reach his desk. The legislation successful passed the Senate however, it is not yet known if the trade agreement will get enough votes for passage in the House of Representatives. There are 435 members of the House and the legislation will need to gain a majority of the representatives votes to successfully pass the chamber. It is expected the House will vote on TPPTA later in June, likely just before congress recesses for the summer.
Under the new NLRB election rules, employers will be required to post an “NLRB Notice of Election,” which contains information about the representation petition that was filed, and advises the two parties their rights and obligations. A “Statement of Position” form will need to be submitted by the employer to the NLRB within seven days after the petition receipt.
The document must include a list of eligible voters, their job classifications, their shift schedules, and work locations. However, the employer can not present any opinion or evidence on the issue of the representation election or request a delay in the vote. Employers can no longer challenge voter eligibility before the election, often used to delay elections, and must wait for the post-election hearing. Also, pre-election hearings will be limited to ‘Statement of Position’ the employer submitted not questioning the election merit.