As we previously reported in our blog, the NLRB’s ambush (aka “quickie”) election rule went into effect on April 30, 2012. The rule sought to dramatically shorten the time frame in which a union representation election will take place. In short, the rule limited the issues employers could raise in the pre-election process (i.e. determining which employees are considered supervisors, and which employees constitute an appropriate bargaining “unit” would no longer be permitted before the election took place) and significantly diminished employers’ ability to appeal unfavorable decision-making at the local board level. The net effect forced employers to counter union organizing campaigns in 14-21 days versus the previously set time frame of approximately 42 days.
Yesterday, May 14, 2012, a U.S. District Court ruled that the NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule is invalid and no longer in effect because no proper quorum of members existed when the rule was voted on and passed. U.S. Chamber of Commerce et. al. v. NLRB (D.C. Cir. 1:11-cv-02262).
Effective immediately, NLRB election procedures revert back to how they had been prior to this April 30, 2012 rule making, which means employers can expect an approximate 42 day window before an election, as opposed to 14-21 days. We expect the NLRB will likely appeal this decision.
SmithAmundsen’s Labor & Employment Practice Group recently received one of the first quickie election petitions in the United States, and the new rule was indeed decidedly working against employers. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t quite over… but this is a significant victory for employers who prefer to remain union free in whole or in part. As always, more detail will follow as new developments arise.