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The five members of the National Labor Relations Board as of late 2013-early 2014.
The National Labor Relations Board is reviving a rule streamlining union representation elections that it previously passed, only to be overturned by a judge on procedural grounds. Although the board had a quorum of three members at the time the policy was voted in, and although the one Republican member had publicly expressed his opposition to the rule, he did not technically vote on it, so the judge struck it down for lack of a quorum. Now that the longstanding Republican filibuster of President Obama's nominees has been broken and the NLRB has a full five members, its three Democrats are reviving the proposal:
Among other changes, the proposed rules would eliminate pre-election reviews that lead to delays, allow for the electronic filing of election documents, and defer some litigation until after an election takes place. Overall, the rules would shorten the amount of time that employers have to stall elections or otherwise dissuade workers from unionizing. The Chamber of Commerce argues that employers wouldn't have enough time to make their case to employees.
That means fewer opportunities for intimidation tactics like requiring workers to attend anti-union meetings. It wouldn't eliminate such opportunities, though: Josh Eidelson reports that "one anti-union firm urged potential clients on a conference call to address the threat of faster elections by scheduling more frequent mandatory anti-union meetings: at least five during what it estimated would be an average twenty-four day lead up to an election."

There's an apt parallel here: Republicans filibustered nominees in part to keep the NLRB from passing a rule like this, which makes it harder for bosses to effectively filibuster union representation elections. Now if the labor board could just reduce a few of the many, many obstacles employers can throw up on the way to a union vote, the playing field might not be entirely leveled, but at least it would look a little less like the walls of the Grand Canyon.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 09:56 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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