NLRB Denies Request to Extend Public Comment on Ambush Election Rule

Critics say rule tilts scales in favor of Big Labor


The National Labor Relations Board denied a congressional request to extend the deadline for public comments on a controversial union election rule.

The House Education and Workforce Committee met with NLRB chairman Mark Gaston Pearce in March asking that he extend the public comment period on the ambush election rule, which will speed up the NLRB voting process.

"A majority of the board believes that all persons interested in the proposed amendments, including those in the best position to provide informed comment on the details of the Board’s representation case procedures … will have ample time and opportunities to do so within the 60-day comment period," Pearce wrote in a Friday letter to the committee.

Republicans slammed the decision not to extend the comment period, which has already drawn tens of thousands of comments from businesses, unions, and labor attorneys.

"What possible harm could come from giving the American people 30 additional days to comment on a rule that will radically transform union elections?" one committee spokesman said in an email.

Republicans have been skeptical of the board’s attempts to speed up the union election procedure. While labor organizers often spend months campaigning for a union election, companies and opponents often do not have similar time to articulate the case against organization.

Congress passed a law barring "ambush" elections in 2011 after the NLRB attempted to issue a similar rule, but that bill failed in the Democratic Senate.

The committee spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the board’s decision to not extend the comment period demonstrates its commitment to advancing union interests.

"It’s not surprising the Obama board would reject a reasonable and routine request to give the public more time to review a significant regulatory proposal, but it’s still disappointing," he said.

Republicans, including Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R., Tenn.), have been very vocal about preventing the NLRB from altering election rules that favor labor groups.

"This is really about speeding up the process in a way that doesn’t allow employers and employees to understand the complicated issues of joining a union," he told the Washington Free Beacon after meeting with Pearce in March. "People out there don’t feel like this is necessary—there’s no need to speed it up because we have a fair and equitable process."

Bill McMorris   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill McMorris is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He joins the Beacon from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he was managing editor of Old Dominion Watchdog. He was a 2010 Robert Novak Fellow with the Phillips Foundation, where he studied state pension shortfalls. His work has been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Economist, Colbert Report, and numerous print publications and radio stations. He lives in Alexandria, Va, with his wife and three daughters. His Twitter handle is @FBillMcMorris. His email address is

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