In a 2-1 vote, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published their final rule on union elections yesterday, December 21. The rule will shorten the time for employees to learn about the pros and cons of unions before an election, grant the organized labor-friendly NLRB and its hearing officers significant latitude to decide election issues, and substantially limit an employer’s ability to appeal initial election hearing findings.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace have filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the rule and ALFA expressed its strong opposition to the new rules.
The final rule amends existing procedures by:
Access a copy of the final rules and description of amendments on the NLRB website.
Fortunately, the new rule did not include an expedited elections provision that would have allowed union elections to take place in as little as 10 days. But that may change again…
NLRB Board Member Craig Becker (a recess appointment) will be going off the Board on December 31 leaving only two members on a five-member NLRB. The Supreme Court has ruled that the NLRB cannot conduct business with less than three members.
President Obama has announced his intention to nominate former Labor Department deputy assistant secretary Sharon Block and general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers Richard Griffin to the Board. All of the 47 Republican members of the U.S. Senate have asked the President to allow Senate confirmation through regular Senate order but it is more likely they will be recess appointments.
With a strong labor-friendly majority, it is probable that the Board will re-consider the most onerous provisions that were not included in the final rule. This could mean, for example, that an expedited elections process will be back on the table.
We will keep you apprised of rule changes that will affect your strategic planning and day-to-day operations. In the interim, we will continue to support and actively participate in lobbying efforts with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace to support measures limiting what we consider to be a serious overreach of the NLRB and the Department of Labor.