WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, 16 senators reaffirmed their support for a new rule to improve the union representation process. In a letter to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairman Mark Pearce, Brown and Murray – along with U.S. Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) – urged NLRB to defend the rule against any court challenges.
“American workers gained the right to collectively bargain and unionize nearly 80 years ago, and out of these rights grew the American middle class,” the senators wrote. “Workers deserve to have a union representation election process that is free of stalling tactics and intimidation. We believe this rule will restore balance and certainty to the union election process and strongly encourage you to vigorously defend this rule in the face of such challenges.”
In Dec. 2014, the NLRB issued a final rule to streamline union election procedures while restoring balance and transparency to the process. The rule will improve communication with employees, foster increased participation, and ensure timeliness in choosing leadership.
Full text of the senators’ letter is below.
January 22, 2015
Chairman Mark Pearce
National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20570-0001
Dear Chairman Pearce:
We write to applaud your recent decision to improve the union representation election process. These changes will modernize the election process and strengthen the procedures through which workers choose workplace representation. Reports indicate this rule will likely be challenged in court by those who oppose workers efforts to unionize. We believe this rule will restore balance and certainty to the union election process and strongly encourage you to vigorously defend this rule in the face of such challenges.
The ability to join a union and bargain collectively is critical to building America’s middle-class. Workers deserve the right to vote on union representation, and that right must be protected from intimidation and stalling tactics. Too often, employers have resorted to frivolous court cases to postpone elections. This new rule will curtail this stalling tactic by authorizing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing officers to move forward with an election despite pending litigation.
In addition, this rule will modernize the union election process. Previously, employers were required to provide workers’ home addresses before the election. The NLRB will now ask for contact information through more efficient mediums of phone and email, streamlining the ability for workers to be notified of union elections. And election petitions and other documents may now be submitted electronically. These much-needed changes will make it easier for all parties to participate in the NLRB process.
American workers gained the right to collectively bargain and unionize nearly 80 years ago, and out of these rights grew the American middle class. It is critical that we preserve these rights for the benefit of American workers and our national economy. Workers deserve to have a union representation election process that is free of stalling tactics and intimidation. These new NLRB rules will reinforce that right. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the collective bargaining process is fair and equal to all parties.