The National Labor Relations Board has issued its final rule governing “ambush” or “quickie” elections that drastically shortens the time between when a union seeks an organizing vote and when it takes place, limiting the ability of an employer to mount an opposition campaign.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Politico called the rulemaking decision “the most significant policy change ever undertaken by the Obama Administration to strengthen the power of labor unions.”
The regulation ends the previous 25-day gap from when an organizing election is scheduled to when the vote occurs. It requires a pre-election hearing eight days after a petition is filed. Following that hearing, the NLRB said it “set the election for the earliest date practicable.” A vote could take place just two days later, critics argue.
The rule also compels employers to supply the union with e-mail addresses and phone numbers of the affected employees.
The rule, which was approved by the board in a straight party-line vote of 3-2, had been anticipated by concerned employers for some time. Some employer groups vowed to take the NLRB to court to block the new rule.
One of these employer groups, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, terms the rule “yet another attempt by this agency to push the agenda of large labor unions at the expense of employees and employers. Time and again, the one-sided agenda of the president and his NLRB has been beaten back in court, and CDW will again look to protect millions of American workplaces by seeking redress through a lawsuit.”
The National Retail Federation says the vast majority of representation elections have been within a reasonable timeframe up to this point, and David French, NRF’s senior vice president of government relations, says the rule “is simply unnecessary and unfair,” adding that his organization is considering both a legal and legislative strategy to combat it.
Also considering litigation is the National Association of Manufacturers. Jay Timmons, NAM’s president, says, “Shortening the timeframe before an election robs employees of the ability to gather the facts they need to make an important and informed decision like whether or not to join a union, and denies employers adequate time to prepare.”
One person unperturbed by the new rule is AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who says, “We commend the NLRB’s efforts to streamline the process and reduce unnecessary delay.”