THE NLRB PROPOSES NEW “AMBUSH” ELECTION PROCEDURES

By: Jonathan T. Swain

On February 5, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced its intention to reintroduce its proposed revised union election rules which are designed to substantially shorten the time from petition to election. These rules, originally proposed in June of 2011, were invalidated by the federal courts in the Spring of 2012.

Make no mistake about it. These rules, when adopted, will act to facilitate a union organizing drive and make it much more difficult for an employer to resist the union by limiting the employer’s opportunity to speak out against the union and about unionization.

As a result, employers that wish to remain non-union will have to act proactively. They will need to have lawful union avoidance policies and procedures in place well in advance of a possible unionization drive. Indeed, employees will need to be ready to act at the very first sign of a union drive.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Speeding up the election cycle timeframe from petition to voting to 10-21 days from the current 42 days.
  • Disputes over voter eligibility will generally be delayed until after the election.
  • Any pre-election hearing will be within 7 days of the petition.
  • Employers will be required to immediately furnish the union with a list of voters, including names, classifications, shifts, and work locations by the hearing date.
  • Once the election is set, a final version of this list will be due in 2 days. The final list will also include employee home addresses, personal email addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Procedures for expedited post-election review by the Regional Directors that include discretionary appeals to the full Board.

Employers and others are invited to comment on these rules and have until April 7, 2014 to do so. A public hearing will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2014. Reply comments are due by April 14, 2014.

If you have any questions about these rules and their implications, please contact your Lindner & Marsack attorney for further discussion. For information on the rules and the procedures for commenting, please see the following link: http://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/fact-sheets/amendments-nlrb-election-rules-and-regulations-fact-sheet.

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