The National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) new "Ambush Rule" went into effect April 14, 2015. Several organizations including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) , the US Chamber, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and the National Retail Federation have filed lawsuits over the rule (All were in hopes that a decision to delay would have been issued prior to April 14th). In addition, Congress had passed a resolution that would have overturned this rule but President Obama vetoed it.
The union election process will be affected in many ways but two of the most controversial provisions of the rule are:
- Accelerated Elections: Once a petition for an election is received, the election could be conducted as early as 10 days. It is anticipated that most elections will be held within a time frame of 10 to 21 days. Today, these elections typically take place, on average, in 38 days.
- New Employee Contact Information: In addition to the company providing names and addresses to the union prior to the election (previously required), employee email addresses and telephone numbers must also now be provided to the union prior to the election.
The new rule reducing the time from the filing of a petition for an election to the scheduled election date is a major issue for employers. Keep in mind that in most
cases union organizers (external union employees and internal company employees) have spent months communicating with employees about the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement and what the union can do for them. Over the years CAI has seen organizing efforts go underground in efforts to get as many union authorization cards signed by employees as possible in order to get a petition filed before the employer even knows they have an issue (the NLRB requires authorization cards signed from at least 30% of what would be the voting unit prior to issuing a petition for an election). If for some reason the union organizers were not able to contact employees prior to the petition, their ability to do so will be significantly improved due to the new rule requiring employers to provide employee email addresses and telephone numbers to the union. CAI will keep you informed of further developments surrounding this controversial rule.
This new quick election rule combined with the new micro unit approach present real hurdles for employers wishing to remain union-free. Please contact CAI’s George Ports if you have questions about the NLRB’s new activities at 919-713-5267 or message him here.
To read the NLRB Fact Sheet on this new rule, go to http://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/fact-sheets/nlrb-representation-case-procedures-fact-sheet.