Federal Legislative Action Alert

DISCLAIMER: The following does not represent the position of the Wisconsin SHRM State Council. However, we felt it important to make you aware of National SHRM’s advocacy alert so you can take action if you choose.

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a bill to address two recent actions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, or the Board). The “Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act” is a legislative response to the National Labor Relations Board’s Specialty Healthcare decision and “quick election” rule.

Please urge your representative to vote yes on H.R.3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act.

Background

SHRM recognizes employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to form, join, assist or refrain from joining a union without threats, interrogation, promises of benefits, or coercion by employers or unions. The NLRA provides appropriate and effective mechanisms to govern union-management relations in a fair and balanced manner, including the employee representation process. Unfortunately, the NLRB has recently issued several case decisions and rules that are imbalanced approaches that would limit employer free speech during union organizing campaigns and promote union organizing. Two of these actions are described here:

Specialty Healthcare decision – The NLRB on August 26, 2011, paved the way for labor organizations to form “micro-unions” by permitting them to target smaller bargaining units comprised of employees who may be more expected to support unionization. The Specialty decision will likely compel employers to manage multiple units of similarly situated employees in the future.

By facilitating fractured bargaining units, the Specialty decision will greatly limit an employer’s flexibility to cross-train employees and meet customer and client demands via lean, flexible staffing because employees will no longer be able to perform work assigned to other units.

“Quick election” proposed rule – On June 22, 2011, the NLRB issued a proposal to change the rules governing union representation elections. Provisions within the proposed rule include:

Shortened Timeframe for Union Elections – The proposal would facilitate an expedited election that must occur within between 10 to 21 days after a petition.
Mandated Disclosure of Employee Information – Under the proposed rule, employers would be required to turn over to the NLRB private employee information, including employee home telephone numbers and personal e-mail addresses.
Deferral of Representational Disputes – The proposed rule, under certain circumstances, would defer litigation of representational disputes, such as the eligibility of voters, until after the election is held.

Legislation

SHRM supports H.R.3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which was introduced on October 5 by Representative John Kline (R-MN), the Chairman of the House Labor Committee. H.R. 3094 would:

mandate that employers have at least 14 days to prepare their case to present before a NLRB election officer,
mandate that a union election cannot be held in less than 35 days following a union petition submission,
reinstate the traditional standard from prior to the Specialty decision for determining which employees will vote in a union election, and
allow employees to choose the type of personal contact information that is provided to the NLRB and relevant union.

Action Needed

SHRM needs your help to share the HR perspective with the U.S. House of Representatives on this important employment issue.

To write your U.S. Representative using SHRM’s HRVoice program, follow these steps:

1. Log onto the SHRM Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE

2. Please select the featured federal alert highlighted to the left by clicking the “Take action here” tab at the bottom of the alert (If you have not used SHRM’s online advocacy system recently, you may be asked to complete an additional registration step before taking action. Upon registering with the system, click the “home” button in the advocacy system to find the featured alert home page.)

3. Be sure to include your complete home mailing address.

For questions regarding H.R. 3094, please contact Michael Layman, SHRM’s Senior Associate, Government Relations, at michael.layman@shrm.org.

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