To aid in the consideration of the issues involving the controversial 2014 Election Rule—also known as the ambush election rule—the National Labor Relations Board is extending the time for filing responses to the Request for Information Regarding Representation Election Regulations published in the Federal Register.
The submission window is currently open and interested parties may file responses on or before March 19, 2018. The original submission deadline was Feb. 12, 2017.
On Dec. 14, 2017, the NLRB published a Request for Information in the Federal Register, asking for public input regarding the board's 2014 Election Rule, which changed longstanding labor policy by shortening the period in which employers are required to hold union elections from when a union petition is filed with the board to when the vote takes place.
Under the old rule, the median time from petition to election was 38 days. But by 2017, the average time from petition to election fell to 23 days.
Critics complained the ambush election rule gave employers less time to consider the issues that caused employees to file the petition, and gave employees less time to make an informed decision on whether to join a union.
Retain or Rescind?
The NLRB is seeking public input on these aspects of the 2014 Election Rule:
- Should it be retained without change?
- Should it be retained with modifications? If so, what should be modified?
- Should it be rescinded?
- If so, should the board revert to the Representation Election Regulations that were in effect before 2014 Election Rule, or should the board change the prior Representation Election Regulations?
- If so, what should be changed?
When the rule was initially adopted, it was opposed by a coalition of industries and employers.
Some saw it as another attempt by the NLRB to tilt the process toward unionization.
But with the NLRB having a Republican majority for the first time in 10 years, the current shift is not unexpected.
It's viewed as a potentially good development for employers.
"It gives employers another opportunity to weigh in," says CBIA counsel Eric Gjede.
"This rule was unnecessary and has put businesses at a disadvantage."
Another aspect of the rule that has employers uncomfortable is a requirement that they disclose phone numbers of voting employees to the unions, even phone numbers that individual supervisors have versus phone numbers the company formally tracks.
Employers were concerned how the unions would use that personal information and how they would protect it.