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TRALA-Supported Pro-Business Legislation

TRALA-backed legislation that would halt all National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) activities since January 4, 2012 involving a quorum was passed today by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on a party-line vote.


H.R. 1120, The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act, would prohibit the NLRB from enforcing any action taken since January 4, 2012 for which a quorum would be required until the courts resolve the pending issues involving President Obama's appointments to the NLRB.

 

The NLRB is comprised of five members who are appointed by the president and they in turn interpret the National Labor Relations Act by reviewing decisions and issuing regulations.  A quorum of three members is needed to issue decisions and promulgate rules.

 

In January of 2012 the term of one of the NLRB Board members expired leaving only two members remaining.  At that time, President Obama appointed three people to the NLRB during one of the Senate's pro forma sessions.  The timing of these appointments allowed the nominees to take their new positions without a normally-required Senate confirmation.  The Obama Administration argued that pro forma sessions were not "true" sessions of Congress but in fact recesses and he appointed the three members at that time.  Those members then went on to pass several anti-business and pro-labor rules and regulations that have broken with decades of standing labor law.

 

Last year, TRALA supported a lawsuit brought against the NLRB which challenged the legitimacy of the appointments.  The case, Noel Canning v. NLRB was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and their decision validated the business community's concerns.  The court ruled that "In short, we hold that 'the recess' is limited to intersession recesses" and that any vacancies filled must be done in the same intersession recess as when those vacancies arose.

 

TRALA believes that the U.S. Supreme Court may likely take up this issue to finally put to rest any lingering doubt as to whether a president has the right to appoint individuals during any time period when Congress is not currently voting or deliberating on legislation.

 

H.R. 1120 would not prohibit the NLRB from prosecuting cases, holding elections or conducting day-to-day business per usual, but it would halt all public policy until the Supreme Court makes a final ruling or the DC Circuit's ruling stands.

 

Per the committee's request, TRALA submitted a letter to the members of the committee in support of the bill.  You can view TRALA's letter by clicking here. 

 

If you have any questions on H.R. 1120, please contact Jake Jacoby at jjacoby@trala.org or at 703-299-9120.