Senate debating measure to nullify union rules
The Senate began debate Monday on a Republican effort to overturn new labor regulations that make it easier and quicker for unions to hold workplace elections. The White House immediately threatened to veto it.
Even though it can't be filibustered and needs only a simple majority to pass, the rarely invoked resolution of disapproval is given little chance of succeeding when the Senate votes on it Tuesday. The vote, however, forces lawmakers to take sides ahead of the November election on an issue that sharply divides unions and business groups.
The new rules were adopted last year by the National Labor Relations Board and are scheduled to take effect on April 30. They are aimed at reducing the time it takes to hold an election after 30 percent of eligible employees at a workplace sign cards saying they want a union.
Republicans and business groups claim the change allows unions to ambush companies, leaving managers without enough time to respond before workers decide whether or not to seek collective bargaining rights.
"This rule will shift the law significantly in favor of big labor," said Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Enzi urged his colleagues to "prevent the small business employers out in America from being ambushed and employees from being misled with insufficient information into union contracts that they cannot get out of."
Unions call the changes a modest fix that would limit corporate stalling tactics, which they say can delay elections for months or years in the most egregious cases. Most union elections currently take place 45 days to 60 days after a union gathers enough signatures to file a petition to hold a formal election. Business groups claim the new rules could shorten that time to as few as 14 days. ...