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Bill Would Block Efforts to Unionize Stores

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Efforts by the National Labor Relations Board to make it easier to unionize retail stores and other businesses would be put on hold under federal legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor Management Relations Act was approved 219-209 in April and now heads to the Senate. The measure would block the NLRB from enforcing any actions taken since January 2012, when President Obama made three appointments to the panel without seeking Senate confirmation. A federal appeals court has ruled that the move violated the Constitution, leaving all decisions made since then in question. The bill would also bar any new votes until the dispute is resolved.

Enactment of the legislation would block NLRB plans to re-pass “ambush” election rules that would allow a unionization vote to take place in as little as two weeks rather than the average five weeks. The rules, opposed by NRF, passed in 2011 but were struck down in a separate court case and need to be passed again before they can take effect.

Retail and other traditionally non-union industries have been targeted by organized labor in recent years, and former labor union officials appointed to the NLRB by the president have pushed a pro-union agenda. NRF has urged Congress to return the panel to its traditional role of “fairness and impartiality when it comes to union organizing and elections.”