In yet another battle with congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama blocked a resolution on Tuesday (Mar. 31) that would have halted new union election rules that allow for quicker elections to take place.
The new rule applied by the National Labor Relations Board would eliminate a 25-day period in between when an election is announced and when it takes place. In other words, it shortens the time between when employees decide to vote on union membership and when they can actually hold the vote. Republicans in Congress wanted to keep the old timeframe in place.
Currently, union elections are held within 38 days, but the new law will limit that to just 11 days, The New York Times reported.
Obama cited the historical importance of unions to employers in his defense of the new election process.
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“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," Obama said. "And 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."
As expected, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized the President’s actions in a statement after Obama’s announcement.
“The NLRB’s ambush election rule is an assault on the rights and privacy protections of American workers. With his veto, the president has once again put the interests of his political allies ahead of the small-business owners and hardworking Americans who create jobs and build a stronger economy,” Boehner said.
President Obama also announced a new meeting this fall at the White House that will provide new ways for middle-class Americans to ease the burden of their pocketbooks in the post-2008 recession era.