Contributed by Jeffrey Risch

Big Labor backed portions of a controversial rule to dramatically shorten the time frame in which a union representation election takes place were passed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on December 22, 2011 by Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce (D) and Member Craig Becker (D) without the agreement of Member Brian E. Hayes (R).  The new rule radically changes the procedures by which the NLRB administers the union election process in the private sector.  Through this new rule, union elections will take place in roughly half the time that they have in recent decades. 

In short, the rule limits the issues employers can raise in the pre-election process and significantly diminishes their ability to appeal unfavorable decision making at the local board level. The net effect will force employers to counter union organizing campaigns in 14-24 days versus the current time frame of approximately 42-45 days. 

Readers can find more information about the new rule on the NLRB’s official website at:

Needless to say, this move is extremely controversial within the business community. Anticipating the move, on December 20, 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace filed a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the NLRB from enforcing the rule. 

Stay tuned… as 2012 already looks like another bumpy ride…