Monday, November 1, 2010

The Post-Election Scenario for Labor Law

NLRB Steven Greenhouse at the New York Times provides a glimpse of Republican plans for labor matters if, as expected, they make signficant gains after the midterm elections.  I find discussion of the expected legislative bills--including a prohibition against voluntary recognition and a requirement that all employees opt-in to political spending--to be a bit silly, as even if the Republican control both houses, such bills are a dead letter in the near-term (a little thing called "presidential veto" still exists).  Far more interesting is this insight by former GC Ron Meisburg, who predicted:

that if a Republican-controlled House cripples labor-backed legislative efforts to make it easier for workers to unionize, the Democratic-controlled labor board might take administrative steps. Mr. Meisburg, a lawyer at Proskauer Rose, noted that one Democratic labor-board member recently proposed making a change in the timing of workplace elections after employees file a petition to hold a unionization vote, reducing the delay to just five or 10 days. Unions want an accelerated schedule because they say employers have too much time to ply workers with antiunion propaganda, but employers complain that such quick elections would deny employers an adequate opportunity to campaign against unionizing.

I think that's exactly right, and it will be interesting to see if the Board moves on quick elections and other related matters.  Either way, these will be interesting times for sure.


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It might be time to take "Labored Relations" off the shelf. I was at the Board in the late 1990s -- fun times! Maybe we can go through another "single-facility" rulemaking exercise.

Posted by: Matt Bodie | Nov 1, 2010 9:37:01 AM

Presidential veto still exists but so does veto override. There can be Democrat defections to vote for override given that there are elections in 2012. (Should an incumbent risk his seat over pleasing big labor which represents only 7.4% of the private sector?)
The administrative steps strategy is probably most efficacious for big "labor-backed" legislative goals such as snap elections and open ballot since the success of the big labor agenda is so predicated on keeping employees in the dark and in preventing employers from having enough time to make the case for staying non-union.

Posted by: joe marino | Nov 2, 2010 11:30:26 AM

The labor board member who wants to speed up union elections was reported on October 21, 2010 as being
NLRB Member Mark Gaston Pearce.

Posted by: joe marino | Nov 2, 2010 1:41:22 PM

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