On March 31, 2015, President Obama vetoed a congressional resolution which sought to overturn new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules, calling for expedited elections as to whether an employer’s employees will be represented by a labor union. Congress had criticized the new NLRB rules as creating “ambush” elections which do not give the employer sufficient time to communicate its message and educate employees about the disadvantages of union representation.
The new NLRB election rules will now go into effect on April 14, 2015. The new rules will shorten the time between the filing of an election petition by a union seeking to represent an employer’s employees and the election date. Under the current rules, employers normally had approximately 40 days between the filing of an election petition and the election. Under the new rules employers will have only 14 to 21 days between the filing of the election petition and the election. This is very little time for an employer to turn around employees who have been persuaded to support a union.
The new rules also require the employer to provide the NLRB with voters’ personal contact information within two days of notification of petition, and the employer must file a complete statement of position on issues affecting the election within seven days of filing of the petition. Litigation of voter/employee eligibility issues will be deferred until after the election. The employer will not have an NLRB determination of who is or is not a supervisor until after election. This lack of NLRB guidance before the election campaign may lead to unfair labor practices during campaign, because an employer is responsible for the acts of its supervisors.
Employers should respond to the new NLRB rules by making an assessment of their employees’ susceptibility to unionization and educating employees about the disadvantages of unionization before a union begins an organizing campaign.
Your labor counsel at Hill Farrer can provide guidance on how to avoid unionization prior to a petition, and how to effectively respond to the shortened campaign period prior to NLRB elections.
On March 31, 2015, President Obama vetoed a congressional resolution which sought to overturn new NLRB rules, calling for expedited elections as to whether an employer’s employees will be represented by a labor union.