Last week, we noted the possibility of a devious Republican scheme to shut down the National Labor Relations Board indefinitely, and block a vote to help speed up union elections.
Because of Republican obstruction in the Senate, the NLRB has only three of five seats filled: two Democrats and one Republican, Brian Hayes. The Democrats hold the majority, but since the NLRB cannot act with only two members—the Supreme Court recently ruled that constitutes a lack of quorum—Hayes signaled that he might simply resign and shut down the board.
This looked like it was coming to a head this month as the NLRB was set to take up the issue of speeding up union elections again, something organized labor would love and the US Chamber of Commerce would hate. A vote on part of some new rules that would speed union elections was held today—and Hayes showed up, ensuring passage.
Hayes explained that while he strongly disagreed with the union election rules, he wasn’t ready to make that dramatic of a move:
“First, it’s not in my nature to be obstructionist,” Hayes said. “Second, as a practical matter, my resignation might not mute the issue.… Lastly, however, and most importantly, I believe resignation would cause the very same harm and collateral damage to the reputation of this agency and to the interests of its constituents as would the issuance of a controversial rule without three affirmative votes and in the wake of a flawed decisional process. I cannot be credibly critical of the latter and engage myself in the former.”
Meanwhile in Washington today, Republicans in the House debated HR 3094, the “Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act.” That bill would reverse NLRB decisions made this summer that would also aid speedy union elections. It passed 235-138 but is unlikely to clear the Senate.