Wednesday, February 5, 2014

NLRB reintroduces rule to speed up union elections

It’s not yet Throwback Thursday, but the National Labor Relations Board announced today that it would resurrect a 2011 rule to speed up the Board election process and to eliminate defenses and procedures previously available to employers during a union election.

If adopted, the rule would limit employers' ability to communicate with employees during union campaigns by shortening the period in which a representation election is held. Under the proposed rule, an election could be held in as few as 10 days. It also imposes disturbing new mandates on employers, such as forcing them to turn over employees’ e-mail addresses.

A federal court overturned a substantively identical rule last year on a procedural technicality- the Board then lacked a quorum to pass the rule- but now, with a fully loaded Board, the “ambush election rule” has resurfaced. James Plunkett, Director of Labor Law Policy for the U.S. Chamber noted, “this is a significant policy change that is specifically intended to curtail employer speech and increase union organizing.” National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons pointed out, “the Board’s own data do not support a need for a shortened time frame for a representation election. Currently, the average time in which an election is held is 38 days from the time a petition is received. In fact, over the past decade, the Board has either met or exceeded its own goal of the amount of days in which to hold an election.”

The rule is available for public comment through April 7, 2014. The Board will hold a hearing with opportunity for public testimony the week of April 7, 2014 as well. 

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