If two Republican United States Senators have their way, membership on the National Labor Relations Board will be increased from five to six, and other  significant changes will be made to the National Labor Relations Act.

The “National Labor Relations Board Reform Act,” introduced on September 16 by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would alter the way the nation’s principal labor relations law works.

According to Senator Alexander’s press announcement, the bill will “end partisan advocacy,” “rein in the General Counsel,” and “encourage timely decision-making.”

The bill would make the following changes to the Act, among others:

  • Increase Board membership from five to six.
  • Three members would have to be from each major political party.
  • Instead of Board members being appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, they would be “appointed by the President, after consultation with the leader of the Senate representing the party opposing the party of the President,” and then confirmed by the Senate.
  • Four Board members would be needed for a quorum.
  • Unfair labor practice complaints issued by the NLRB General Counsel would be subject to review in Federal District Court upon a written petition for review.
  • Further proceedings by the NLRB on the complaint would be prohibited if it is shown that the General Counsel “does not have substantial evidence that [there has been a violation of the] Act.”
  • Unions and employers against whom unfair labor practice complaints are issued will be able to obtain advice, internal, inter- and intra-agency memorandum and other documents relevant to the complaint within 10 days after requesting them.
  • The NLRB would be required to act finally on appeals of decisions by agency Administrative Law Judges and Regional Directors within one year.
  • Funding for the NLRB would be reduced by 20 percent if the Board is not able to decide 90 percent of its cases within one year during the first two-year period after the law is enacted.

The bill is unlikely to pass given the current composition of the Senate.  However, changes in that body could result in the bill receiving a full review in the future.