Key vote letter to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding H.R. 1120, the “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act.”
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, supports H.R. 1120, the “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act.” We urge Congress to pass this important legislation which will help to return some clarity to labor-management relations.
On January 4, 2012, President Obama recess appointed Sharon Block, Richard Griffin, and Terence Flynn to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) when the Senate was not in recess. In Noel Canning v. NLRB – a case in which the Chamber briefed, argued, and won in support of its member, the Noel Canning Corporation – the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the recess appointments were unconstitutional. As a result, the Board lacks the quorum it needs to conduct business, calling into doubt hundreds of recent rulings by the Board.
Rather than taking measures to address the chaos created by the unconstitutional recess appointments, the Board has exacerbated the situation by continuing to issue orders and decisions, despite the ruling in Noel Canning. Although the Board recently announced its intentions to seek the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the Noel Canning decision, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will accept the case. Even if the Supreme Court does choose to review Noel Canning, it may be months before it issues an opinion. In the meantime, the business community is left to wonder about the validity of NLRB-issued orders, decisions, and rulemakings.
The “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act” would resolve this current uncertainty by prohibiting the Board from taking actions that require a three-member quorum. H.R. 1120 would also prevent the Board from enforcing any action issued after January 4, 2012, which required a quorum. Importantly, H.R. 1120 would not prevent NLRB regional offices from accepting and processing election petitions or unfair labor practice charges.
The Chamber believes the “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act” would be a positive step towards restoring some stability to labor-management relations. Due to the critical importance of this issue to the business community, the Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten