Ambush Elections, Micro voting units, Expanded Protected Activities: Preparing for an active NLRB

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Over the last two years we’ve seen many significant rulings from the NLRB that make it easier for your employees to organize. Three areas really stand out and should cause concern for all employers, even those who aren't unionized.


First there was the micro-voting unit ruling that overturned 20 years of practice on how the NLRB determines appropriate voting units.  The Board’s longstanding rule was to look for a “community of interest” among employees.  In the past these units were typically very broad, such as production and maintenance units.  In 2011, however, the NLRB shook the foundation of this model in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile (Specialty Healthcare), 357 NLRB No. 83 (Aug. 26, 2011).  In Specialty Healthcare, the Board approved a “micro unit” consisting solely of nursing assistants.  The employer lost the election and the election set the stage for organized labor’s ability to organize smaller units in an organization, units that could consist of only one department or possibly even one job classification.


The NLRB has also aggressively expanded the definition of protected concerted activities with rulings around social media, handbook language and the like.  For example, the NLRBrecently ruled that employers could not prohibit employees from using their company’s email to communicate and engage in union organizing on their own time.  The current Board’s majority decision was based upon its reasoning that technology had transformed daily habits. “The workplace is ‘uniquely appropriate’ and ‘the natural gathering place’ for such communications,” the Board wrote, “and the use of email as a common form of workplace communication has expanded dramatically in recent years.”  The Board said that as long as employees were allowed to send non-work-related emails, then employers could not bar the messages from being sent about union organizing.


Lastly and most recently, the NLRB’s new “ambush rule” went into effect, reducing the amount of time to hold election to as little as 10 days and requiring employers to furnish more demographic data on their employees to the union.


If you have questions about navigating these new NLRB rulings don't hesitate to reach out to a member of the Advice and Resolution team.  They can help you determine what practical steps should be taken at your organization and assist you in putting together a plan of action.


Also, CAI has put together a FREE members-only event to help you prepare now for avoiding issues with the aggressive NLRB.  You’ll hear from Brandon Shelton (Greensboro event) and James Fowles (Raleigh Event) from the Ogletree Deakins Law firm and CAI’s own Bill Sherratt. You will leave this session with a thorough understanding of what the NLRB has been up to and practical steps you can take now to ensure your facility remains union free.


Seating is limited so register NOW by clicking one of the dates below!


In Raleigh, Tuesday June 30th from 9am to 11:30am.


In Greensboro, Wednesday July 8th from 1pm to 3:30pm.


2.5 HR HRCI Credits