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Washington Update
 

   3/22/2013
 

On Wednesday, March 20, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. The bill, introduced by House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chair Phil Roe (R-TN), would require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) to cease activity until the pending federal court case involving the appointments to the current Board is settled or NLRB members are properly appointed.

Previously, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously held in Noel Canning v. NLRB that President Obama’s Jan. 4, 2012, appointments of Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin to the NLRB were not valid “recess” appointments under the Constitution because they did not occur during an “intersession” recess of the U.S. Senate. The decision put in question the validity of hundreds of Board rulings issued since January 2012. The NLRB announced March 12 that it will seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the federal court’s decision in Noel Canning. The Board’s appeal ensures the ambiguity surrounding the NLRB’s actions will continue for months or even years.

SHRM signaled its support of H.R. 1120 through a letter to the Committee highlighting the clarity the bill would provide HR professionals on the application of these Board rulings to the workplace pending the court’s resolution of the Noel Canning case. Although the bill effectively stops Board action, it does not prevent NLRB regional offices from accepting and processing unfair labor practice charges filed by a worker, employer or union.

With the approval of the committee, the bill now moves on to the House floor where consideration is expected later this year.

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