NLRB Proposes New “Quickie” Election Rules

(Post written by law firm Verrill Dana)

The Employee Free Choice Act may be a lame duck, but the NLRB seems dead set on changing the representation election process – and not for the better.  On June 21, 2011, the NLRB proposed amendments to its existing rules and regulations governing procedures in union representation cases.  The proposed amendments would:

  • Allow unions to file petitions and other documents electronically;
  •  Standardize timeframes for pre-election hearings (seven days after service of hearing notice) and post-election hearings (14 days after the tally of ballots);
  •  Mandate employers provide a final voter list (also known as an Excelsior list) with employee phone numbers and e-mail addresses in electronic form within two (2) days of the direction of election;
  •  Require parties to identify pre-election issues (like voter eligibility) and describe their supporting evidence within seven (7) days after an election petition is filed;
  •  Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board in a single post-election appeals process – thus eliminating pre-election requests for review of the Regional Directors decisions, including voter eligibility determinations; and
  •  Make Board review of post-election decisions discretionary rather than mandatory.

 What does this all mean?  It means organized labor may soon have their much desired “quickie” election.  If adopted, these new rules would allow representation elections to be held within 10 to 21 days from the filing of a petition and significantly limit an employer’s right to communicate with its workforce and to petition the government for redress.

 These new rules underscore the importance of educating your workforce about unionization before a petition is filed.   Under the new rules, once a petition is filed employers have a small window of time in which to educate workers.  Accordingly, employers should take the time to do the following now:

  1.  Educate employees about union authorization cards and what they really mean.  Remember, unions need at least 30% of employees to sign authorization cards before they can file an election petition;
  2.  Educate employees about the risks and downsides of unionization.  Do not assume your employees understand what it means to be represented by a union.  If you don’t educate them, unions will.
  3.  Conduct a supervisory audit to assess employee morale and proactively address employee concerns.  The best way to keep unions out of your facility is to create a work environment where employees say “we don’t need a union.”

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Compliance, Employee Relations, Legislation, Management

4 responses to “NLRB Proposes New “Quickie” Election Rules

  1. DrG

    Such simplistic partisan nonsense. I realize you were likely spoon fed this line of analysis by the GOP and NRTW but speeding the process won’t hurt management over time. In fact, it will likely help small businesses resist unions better. But knowing how that might happen would take some thought and analysis, not just watching FOX news

  2. I absolutely disagree with the above comment. Speeding up elections provides unions an unfair advantage and will hurt all employers. In terms of the other comments made above, you clearly don’t know me or you’d realize that I am not partisan and never depend upon either the GOP or Fox for my opinions–ever! If you want to disagree with me, do so. But let’s do it with civility. It makes for a better discussion of the issues.

  3. DrG

    how is it unfair? Management has a Section 8(c) right to express its views and the advantage of captive audience meetings. Management may end up with less time to bombard employees with antiunion propoganda, but that doesn’t mean the playing field would be even.

    An even playing field would mean that management and unions get the same amount of time to ply their message. Even under quick elections, that won’t happen.

    Employers and the GOP usually want to delay elections because it gives them more time to commit ULPs, to coerce employees out of their right to chose. Union activists and supporters are fired in about a 1/3 of elections, other ULPs are common during elections,

  4. DrG

    (interrogations, surveillance, illegal threats of closure, illegally promised improved wages or benefits). Although right wingers and ideologues yap about forced unionism, there has always been more coercion applied by management against employees and their rights than unions. 80% of ULPs charges and findings are against employers. And the 20% of union ULPs arent mostly related to election conduct. I worked at the Board 6 years, and had one R case with alleged union conduct at its center. And none was found. In contrast I had dozens of employer ULP or objectionable conduct cases.

    But the real losers under the new rules are big corporations that have the institutional memory and vast resources to hire high priced union busting law firms and union prevention consulting firms. Those law and consulting firms not only make money billing by the hour as the elections drag on, they know that employees and unions will often give up. Contrary to popular myth most unions have very limited funds.

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