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Lawmakers try different tack to block NLRB

Republicans aren’t letting a presidential veto stop them from trying to block rules that would make it easier and faster for unions to organize.

Stymied by the president’s March veto of their resolution against the policy change, Republicans now are using the budget process to block the rules.

An appropriations bill that recently cleared House and Senate committees includes provisions to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from implementing the rules, which would allow smaller bargaining units or “micro-unions” to form within departments of the same company, allow electronic voting in union elections, hold companies responsible for labor violations of business partners such as franchisees, and reduce the waiting period between the circulation of organizing petitions and union elections.

“The rule-making was designed to streamline and modernize,” NLRB chairman Mark Pearce said at a recent hearing. “The ultimate goal for the rule is to promote efficiency.”

But Republicans are pushing back. They are moving to cut the labor board’s allocations by 10 percent in a funding bill that also contains provisions to prevent the new rules from being enforced.

They argue the new rules are harmful because they don’t allow employers enough time to respond to unionization efforts. Previous rules required a 38-day wait between petitioning and voting. The new rule, which went into effect in April, would allow votes after two weeks.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who chairs a key appropriations subcommittee, said the rule change is troubling, disturbing and concerning.

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