This controversial final rule overhauls the NLRB’s procedures for union representation elections. Under the rule, the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place will be reduced from the current average of around 40 days to as few as 17 to 20 days.
The NLRB achieved this drastic reduction in time primarily by:
• combining pre- and post-election appeals;
• truncating pre- and post-hearing procedures; and
• limiting the types of issues an employer can raise at a pre-election hearing. (Determining which employees are considered supervisors, and which employees constitute a potential bargaining “unit” are no longer permitted before the election takes place.)
Although the NLRB’s final rule requires no immediate action by employers unless they are involved in a union representation election, the shortened time period for union elections will place a premium on rapid response by employers to union organizing activity. Employers are encouraged to speak with their labor counsel now about implementing a rapid response plan for management.
It has been brought to my attention there is a chapter member that could potentially have an “ambush election” under the new rules as a result of an IBEW effort. There is no doubt that with the changing landscape at the NLRB we will see more organizing efforts! Watch for a registration information about an upcoming seminar about this.
The new rule it encourages the kind of back-door union organizing sought through the deceptively named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). This final rule is only a small part of a larger proposal issued in June 2011 that called for even quicker union representation elections and more infringement on employer and employee rights. NLRB’s current chairman has indicated that he plans to eventually implement the entire proposal.
See these additional resources:
• NLRB Final Rule on Representation-Case Procedures
• NLRB Frequently Asked Questions on Final Rule
• Explanation of Election Process Changes | NLRB
• NLRB Guidance Memo on Final Rule