NLRB’s “Quickie” Election Rule Effective Today – April 30, 2012

Contributed by Jeffrey Risch

Today’s the day that the NLRB’s controversial rule to dramatically shorten the time frame in which a union representation election takes place goes into effect. 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 (i.e. determining which employees are considered supervisors, and which employees constitute an appropriate bargaining “unit” are no longer permitted before the election takes place) 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 14-21 days versus the current time frame of approximately 42 days.  

Readers can find more information about the new rule on the NLRB’s official website at: http://www.nlrb.gov/news/board-adopts-amendments-election-case-procedures

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.   

The rule was published in the Federal Registry on December 22, 2011 by Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce (D) and outgoing Member Craig Becker (D) without the agreement of Member Brian E. Hayes (R).   

Because of these new time restraints, employers (who prefer to remain union-free) should immediately contact their labor law counsel and discuss implementing an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE PLAN if and when a labor union petitions for recognition.  Despite legal actions filed to prevent this rule from going forward, this rule is in place for now…

SA’s Labor & Employment Law Group will keep its clients and contacts updated on any significant future developments.