Policy: Labor

Lamar Alexander calls on Senate to rein in National Labor Relations Board

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Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., proposed legislation last week that would prevent the National Labor Relations Board from implementing a rule requiring businesses to turn over employees' personal phone numbers and email addresses during union organizing drives.

Big Labor has long wanted the NLRB to adopt such a rule, arguing it is unfair of businesses not to allow them contact with the workers. Big Business and its allies have pushed back, arguing that it is not up to businesses to give the information since that violates worker privacy.

Currently, businesses are only obligated to turn over employee names and home addresses during organizing drives.

"As I've said before, the National Labor Relations Board has become far too politicized under recent administrations. That didn't start with the Obama administration, but it's gotten worse with this administration as it has moved toward the side of union advocacy with such things as ambush elections and micro-unions and undermining state right-to-work laws," Alexander said in a Senate floor speech Thursday.

Alexander is the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He said he would propose the legislation during an upcoming committee markup.

The NLRB, the quasi-independent federal agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act, has agreed with Big Labor on the issue and attempted to enact such a rule for years. A version of the rule was actually adopted in 2011 but that was swatted down by a federal court the following year. The NLRB had lacked a proper quorum at the time the rule was adopted, the court said.

In February, the NLRB announced that it would re-start the rulemaking process regarding employee contact information. The board currently has all five member slots filled with Senate-confirmed nominees, so a lack of a quorum won't be an issue this time.

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