President Barack Obama vetoed a measure passed by the Republican-run Congress blocking the National Labor Relations Board from streamlining the process for union elections.
The NLRB rule, set to take effect on April 14, would shorten the amount of time between when an election is called and when it is held by eliminating a 25-day waiting period. Usually, during this 25-day window, workers are barraged with a series of captive audience meetings and one on one meetings in front of management where they are interrogated about their allegiances prior to the election.
Republicans and anti-union groups oppose the rule, arguing that it would limit the ability of businesses to prepare for representation elections. Opponents also said workers wouldn’t have enough time to make “informed” decisions about whether to join a union.
Obama called the labor board’s changes “common sense” and “modest” before he vetoed the measure.
“Unions historically have been at the forefront of establishing things like the 40-hour work week, the weekend, elimination of child labor laws, establishing fair benefits and decent wages,” the President said. “One of the freedoms of folks here in the United States is, is that if they choose to join a union, they should be able to do so. And we shouldn’t be making it impossible for that to happen.”
The new NLRB rules also update election preparation to the new digital age by finally allowing documents to be filed electronically instead of solely by mail. The rule will also require employers to supply union organizers with workers’ contact information in order to allow more adequate time for the union to campaign on its side of the issues.
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