Takes effect April 14, 2015
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has adopted a final rule amending its representation-case procedures to "remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation questions."
It's the second time around for what has been called the "ambush election" rule, which would speed up elections and curtail the appeals process after an election.
The new version also requires businesses to give union leaders lists of employee phone numbers and addresses before a vote.
The NLRB instituted the rule in 2011 when the board had only two members on it, but a federal court subsequently threw out the rule because it said the board lacked a quorum.
As described from the NLRB's perspective, the new rule will "streamline board procedures; increase transparency and uniformity across regions; eliminate or reduce unnecessary litigation, duplication, and delay; and update the Board's rules on documents and communications in light of modern communications technology."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been a longstanding critic of this change. Issuing the following statement, the Chamber questioned the NLRB's stated need for and characterization of this change in union organizing rules: "The final 'ambush election' rule would unduly accelerate the elections process, limiting the statutory right of employers to explain the costs of unionizing and to bring legal challenges to proposed representation elections. It would also require employers to provide unions with the names, physical and email addresses, and telephone numbers of employees they hope to organize."
Echoing the Chamber's view, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons, has posted a video statement on the NLRB's decision to drastically change longstanding labor policy and dramatically shorten the time-frame for union elections, including the possibility of legal action to again contest its validity.
Only time will tell whether this is a new world order in union organizing or merely another chapter in the continuing rough-and- tumble world of labor relations.