Back in September, we posted on the blog about a new bill introduced in the Senate aimed to reform the structure of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). We promised to watch for any developments in the New Year. Well last week Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander reintroduced the NLRB Reform Act. The Act, if passed would make would require the NLRB to have 6 board members of which 3 must be Republicans and 3 must be Democrats–similar to the make-up of the Federal Election Commission. Currently the NLRB is comprised of 5 members (and, while the split is currently 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans, members are appointed by the President to five year terms upon the consent of the Senate). Further, the Act would change the language regarding appointments from as to the appointment of Board members, the bill would replace “appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate” with “appointed by the President, after consultation with the leader of the Senate representing the party opposing the party of the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”
Once again, opponents are claiming that an even split of board members along partisan lines would render the NLRB in constant gridlock and therefore useless at resolving important labor cases. Proponents of the bill, including the International Franchise Association, claim that the bill is “an important step to removing politics from the NLRB and establishing a fair process for the consideration of all complaints.” We will continue to keep readers apprised of any updates with the bill.