Lauren Brown
Institute for Legal Reform


June 09, 2017


As this blog has noted on many occasions, the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was one of the more excessive regulators during the past eight years. In an effort to reform some of the more egregious examples of this regulatory zeal, Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced two new bills intended to address the NLRB’s ambush election rule and its micro-union scheme.

On June 6th, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 2776), which would provide additional time for workers to learn all the facts about unionization before an election takes place. Specifically, the bill states that no election shall take place earlier than 35 days after an election petition is filed. This would take care of some of the major complaints about the ambush election rule, namely that it rushed elections along before workers had time to get all the facts, and that an election could take place before either side even knew who all the eligible voters were.

Walberg’s legislation also takes aim at the NLRB’s micro-union scheme established under the infamous Specialty Healthcare decision. Specifically, the bill would restore the traditional “community of interest standard” that was upended when Specialty Healthcare was issued in 2011. That decision allowed for unions to form small, fractured, “micro-units” that represent only a portion of a company’s workforce. Essentially, unions were allowed to gerrymander the units they wished to represent.

The second bill introduced is the Employee Privacy Act put forth by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). This bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and give workers the ability to choose the means by which they wish to be contacted by a union during an election campaign. Thus, the bill would deal with the ambush election rule’s invasion of employee privacy. Under the rule, employers are forced to give unions employees’ names, home addresses, home phone numbers, e-mail accounts, work locations, and shift schedules.

The NLRA established a delicate balance between unions and employers. The two bills introduced this week seek to restore that balance after eight years of one-sided regulation.

About the authors

Lauren Brown