Before adjourning for a week-long recess, lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced several bills addressing labor union and National Labor Relations Board activity.
The first bill reintroduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to allow employers to refuse to hire undercover union organizers, commonly known as "salts." The Truth in Employment Act (H.R. 1746) would add the following provision to Section 8(a) of the NLRA: "Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring an employer to employ any person who seeks or has sought employment with the employer in furtherance of other employment or agency status."
In a press release, Rep. King said that his bill:
would help restore the balance of rights between employers, employees, and labor unions by ensuring that employers are not forced to hire individuals who only want to damage their company.
These 'salting' activities should not be confused with legitimate union organizing, and companies should not be forced to 'play dumb' and hire people working on behalf of their competitors. The Truth in Employment Act will go a long way towards protecting small businesses from sabotage, extortion, and frivolous lawsuits, and it should be enacted immediately as a common-sense clarification to federal labor law.
Under current law, an employer cannot discriminate against a "salt" simply because of an alleged conflict of interest or due to "potential" violation of company policies. The employer does have the right to require the salt to perform work in the normally expected manner. The extent of "salting" in use by unions is uncertain, as some salts identify their union affiliation and others do not.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) introduced the second labor-related bill, the Union Coercion Prevention Act (H.R. 1815) which seeks to "protect workers from the corrupt and coercive 'Card Check' system of organizing labor unions." Among other changes, this bill would mandate that a designated representative of employees for the purpose of collective bargaining be selected by secret ballot in an election conducted by the Board and:
That, for purposes of determining the majority of the employees in a secret ballot election in a unit, the term "majority" shall mean the majority of all the employees in the unit, and not the majority of employees voting in the election.
The measure would also make several process and procedural changes to the representation election process. These amendments are designed to preempt regulatory efforts to establish expedited representation elections. For example, the bill would stipulate that:
No election shall be conducted less than 40 calendar days following the filing of an election petition. The employer shall provide the Board a list of employee names and home addresses of all eligible voters within 7 days following the Board's determination of the appropriate unit or following any agreement between the employer and the labor organization regarding the eligible voters.
Finally, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a companion bill (S. 850) to the House-approved Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. Both bills are designed to limit the activities and enforcement power of the National Labor Relations Board until the Senate validly confirms a quorum, the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of President Obama's three Board recess appointees, or until the 113th Congress adjourns. The Republican-controlled House narrowly passed this measure on April 12. The Senate counterpart is unlikely to advance in the Democrat-controlled chamber. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration on April 25 filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's finding in Noel Canning v. NLRB that the recess appointments were unconstitutional.
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