WASHINGTON — President Obama vetoed a measure Tuesday that would have blocked a controversial National Labor Relations Board rule shortening the time frame for union elections.
The NLRB rule, which is set to take effect in mid-April, will eliminate a 25-day waiting period between when an election is ordered and when it is held. It also requires employers to give employee e-mail addresses and phone numbers to union organizers.
“A while back, the National Labor Relations Board put forward some common sense, modest changes to streamline the voting process for folks who wanted to join a union,” Obama said. “And unfortunately, the Republican Senate and House decided to put forward a proposal to reverse those changes. I think that’s a bad idea.”
Obama said unions have historically been at the forefront of measures like the 40-hour work week, the weekend, and the establishment of benefits and decent wages.
“And one of the freedoms of folks here in the United States 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,” Obama said.
Obama also announced the White House will host a summit this fall on worker rights.
Unions back the rule, saying lengthy and unnecessary litigation often delays the union election process and prevents workers from forming a union. Business groups oppose the NLRB rule, dubbing it the “ambush election” rule because it would speed up the time between a petition for a union election and when it is held.
“We are disappointed in the President’s decision to issue a veto of this resolution, which passed both chambers of Congress earlier this month,” said Kelly Kolb, vice president for government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “The ambush election rule limits employees’ ability to make informed decisions and could ultimately have a significant negative impact on staffing and workforce development in the retail sector.”