A measure designed to prevent the National Labor Relations Board’s new election rule from taking effect next Monday was defeated in the Senate. On Tuesday the Senate voted 45-54 in favor of a motion to proceed to a vote on S. J. Res. 36, a resolution disapproving of the Board’s rule that expedites and makes other dramatic changes to the representation election process. At least 60 votes were needed to allow the resolution to proceed to a vote. The vote was largely along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the resolution and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) the only Republican to vote against the measure.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Help, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced S.J. Res. 36 in the Senate with 44 co-sponsors on February 16, 2012. Lawmakers introduced an identical resolution (H.J. Res. 103) in the House the same day. The text of this resolution is as follows:
Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation election procedures.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation election procedures (published at 76 Fed. Reg. 80138 (December 22, 2011)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.
Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a House or Senate joint resolution, if approved, has the force of law to prevent an agency rule from taking effect. Even if opponents of the NLRB rule had garnered sufficient votes to advance and ultimately pass the resolution, however, President Obama had indicated that he would veto such a measure.
During Tuesday’s two-hour debate of S.J. Res. 36, Sen. Enzi urged his colleagues to vote in its favor, saying that the NLRB’s job is to ensure fairness to the representation election process, not to tip the scales in favor of unionization.
The rule is scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012, although litigation challenging the rule is pending.
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