Washington, D.C. – February 12, 2015 – The American Hotel & Lodging Association, the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, today praised Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chairman John Kline (MN-2) for their introduction of S. J. Res. 8 and H. J. Res. 29, respectively, which would overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) recent “ambush” elections rule.
In letters sent to Chairman Lamar Alexander and Chairman Kline, AH&LA outlines how the NLRB’s rulemaking limits the rights of both employees and employers in the hotel industry, and jeopardizes its ability to continue to create and grow jobs.
“By shortening the election period, the rule greatly limits employers’ ability to respond to any promises or allegations made by the union, significantly reducing employees’ opportunity to gather all the facts needed to make an informed choice about representation prior to the election,” the letter states. “Without such facts, workers may enter into collective bargaining relationships with misperceptions about their employer and unrealistic expectations, creating unnecessary labor-management tension and undermining the stability of the bargaining relationship and future labor and employee relations.
“Small business owners within the hospitality industry, as well as the rest of the economy, are already struggling with current regulations; adding such a complex array of laws and restrictions under the NLRA to that already substantial regulatory burden without time to secure legal counsel is unnecessary, unfair, and harmful to our economy and job growth,” continues the letter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) joined Senator Alexander in introducing the Senate measure. Rep. Phil Roe (TN-1) also joined in introducing H. J. Res. 29.
The full text of the letter sent to Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is attached and provided below.
The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
644 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Alexander:
On behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), I thank you for introducing H. J. Res 29, which calls for Congressional disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or Board) recent rulemaking which drastically alters the procedures for union representation elections. The NLRB’s final “ambush election” rule, which goes into effect on April 14, 2015, will deprive lodging employees of the time and information necessary to make an informed choice about union representation and AH&LA members of their free speech and due process rights. Ensuring employees make an informed choice about union representation is essential to stable labor and employee relations and the lodging industry’s ability to continue to prosper, grow, and provide more jobs for the American people. AH&LA supports S. J. Res 8 and urges Congress to approve of the resolution and nullify the Board’s ruling.
AH&LA is a national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the U.S. lodging industry, including owners, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, suppliers, and state associations. AH&LA is the sole national organization for the hospitality industry and works to advocate for those business owners who provide nearly 2 million employees and generate $155.5 billion annually. The lodging industry is one of the nation’s largest employers and has helped lead the national economic recovery with 52 months of steady growth. It is important to note that this industry is comprised largely of small businesses with more than 55% of hotels having 75 rooms or less.
The Board published the final ambush election rule on December 12, 2014. When it goes into effect in April of this year, the rule will:
- Shorten the time between a union petition for election and the day the Board conducts the representation election from the current median of 38 days to as few as 14 days;
- Deprive employers of due process rights that have been integral to the existing election process; and
- Require employers provide the union with employees’ personal phone numbers and email addresses.
The last requirement seriously infringes on the privacy rights of employees. Employees would neither have the right to prevent the release of their contact information nor have the ability to determine which contact information is provided. This creates an unnecessary increase in risk to the employee of intimidation, harassment, identity theft, or other fraud.
By shortening the election time frames, the rule also effectively deprives employers of free speech as it significantly limits the time they have to discuss union representation with their employees. This also infringes on employees’ right to make an informed choice.
As then-Senator John F. Kennedy Jr. explained in 1959 during debates over amendments to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a 30-day period before any election was a necessary “safeguard against rushing employees into an election where they are unfamiliar with the issues.”
Under current law, unions are permitted to campaign months prior to the election and during that time unrealistic promises are often made to employees. By shortening the election period, the rule greatly limits employers’ ability to respond to any promises or allegations made by the union, significantly reducing employees’ opportunity to gather all the facts needed to make an informed choice about representation prior to the election. Without such facts, workers may enter into collective bargaining relationships with misperceptions about their employer and unrealistic expectations, creating unnecessary labor-management tension and undermining the stability of the bargaining relationship and future labor and employee relations. This will negatively impact consumers, employees, employers and job growth.
In addition, many small business owners, when facing a union organizing campaign, need to consult with outside counsel in order to both understand the organizing drive as well as the laws in place governing the union election process for fear of violating the complex legal requirements and responsibilities imposed by the NLRA. The ambush election rule requires a hearing within 8 days of a petition with an election held shortly thereafter. This leaves very little time for an employer to secure outside counsel and develop a response to the factual and legal issues involved in the election. Thus, the shortened election time frames greatly increases the chance that smaller business owners will accidentally waive important rights or violate the NLRA or related laws.
Small business owners within the hospitality industry, as well as the rest of the economy, are already struggling with current regulations; adding such a complex array of laws and restrictions under the NLRA to that already substantial regulatory burden without time to secure legal counsel is unnecessary, unfair, and harmful to our economy and job growth.
The Board’s own statistics show that the median time from petition to election over the past ten years has been 38 days, with nearly 95% of elections occurring within 56 days in 2013 and 95.7% within 56 days in 2014. The current timeframe between petition and election was reasonable and fair for all involved, and the NLRB’s rule is unjustified and needless.
In summation, the rule is entirely unnecessary and only creates unwarranted burdens and limitations on employees’ right to informed choice and privacy as well as employers’ due process and free speech rights and access to legal counsel. For these reasons, AH&LA thanks you for introducing S. J. Res 8 and urges Congress to quickly approve this important resolution.
Vice President, Government and Political Affairs