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On Dec. 12, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its long-awaited final rule that overhauls the procedures for union representation elections. Under this controversial rule, the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place likely will be dramatically reduced from the current average of 38 days. The changes are scheduled to take effect April 14, 2015, unless a court or Congress blocks enforcement of the new rule.

The NLRB achieved this drastic reduction in time primarily by:

  • combining pre- and post-election appeals;
  • shortening pre- and post-hearing procedures (requiring that pre-election hearings begin within eight days and that post-election hearings be held within 14 days of the final tally of votes in the election);
  • 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); and
  • reducing the amount of time an employer is allotted to provide a list of eligible voters and increasing the amount of personal information that must be disclosed to unions.
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 putting in place a rapid response plan for management because they may not get a second chance to prepare for sudden union organizing activity. 

In addition, ABC expressed its concerns with the agency’s final rule in a Dec. 12 press release, and is considering a legal challenge to the rule in federal court. ABC will continue to keep members informed about any legal challenges that deal with procedures for union representation.

“The ambush rule released today by the NLRB further demonstrates the Board’s shift from neutral arbiter of labor law to cheerleader for big labor,” said ABC Vice President of Government Affairs Geoff Burr. “ABC opposes this erosion of workplace and privacy rights, which will lead to the unsolicited distribution of employees’ personal contact information and drastically shorten the period of time between when a petition is filed and when a representation election is held. This rule adds unnecessary pressure to employers and deprives employees of valuable time needed to make a well-informed decision and we will continue to lead the fight against ambush elections through every available avenue.”

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