NLRB Reissues Proposed "Ambush Election Rule"
In a move that was widely anticipated, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced on February 5, 2014 that it was proposing revised union election rules to dramatically shorten the time frame to conduct union elections. The proposed rules are virtually identical to the changes that the NLRB originally proposed in June of 2011 and adopted later that year in November, which the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ultimately invalidated in May 2012. Essentially, the NLRB's proposed rule changes will make it much more difficult for employers to defeat a union in an election. The proposed rule would wreak havoc with the current union election process as it dramatically shortens the time frame between the filing of a union election petition and the election.
Some of the major proposed changes include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Union elections are expected to occur within 10 to 21 days after a petition is filed rather than the current 42-day time period.
• Most disputes about issues, such as which employees are eligible to vote in an election, will now be left until after the election is over.
• Employers will be required to provide the union with a list of its employees, work location, shift and job classification by the time of the pre-election hearing.
• Once the election has been scheduled, employers will have only two days, rather than the current seven day period, to give the union an alphabetized list of all voters that has the voters' home address, email address, and phone number.
• Any disputes about the election must be heard by the appropriate regional NLRB office within 14 days of the election, and an appeal to the NLRB will be discretionary, instead of mandatory.
In summary, the NLRB's proposed rules will make it much more difficult for employers to resist union organizing attempts. Employers will have very little time to lawfully deal with organizing once an election petition is filed. Most significantly, less time than ever before will be available to explain the facts about unions to employees so that employees can make a fully-informed decision about whether a union is necessary.