SHRM Joins Lawsuit to Stop NLRB Union Election Rule
Employee privacy at risk
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), along with a coalition representing an array of industries and employers, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Jan. 5 to stop the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from moving forward with implementation of its new union election rule.
The rule, issued on Dec. 12, changes longstanding labor policy by shortening the time in which employers are required to hold union elections to as little as 14 days. SHRM believes the rule unnecessarily reduces the time employees need to make an informed decision about whether or not to join a union.
“This rule is an unprecedented change in the union election process, which is governed by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935,” said Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, SHRM president and CEO. “The changes unfairly hinder the ability of employees to make an informed choice about whether or not to join a union. This rule is the latest and most sweeping action by the NLRB to tilt the process toward unionization and prevent employers from effectively communicating with employees, and it should be thrown out.”
SHRM joined in the lawsuit with the National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Coalition for a Democratic Workforce.
“SHRM does not enter into litigation lightly,” Jackson said. “But SHRM believes that the NLRB has exceeded its authority and the new rule violates the National Labor Relations Act.”
Employee Privacy Concerns
SHRM also is concerned about the rule’s mandate that employers give employees’ personal phone numbers and email addresses to labor organizations. The NLRB acknowledged the privacy, identity theft, and other risks posed by the requirement but determined that the risks were worth taking. “SHRM is troubled by the NLRB’s willingness to take these risks,” Jackson said. “HR professionals take their obligations to protect employee private information seriously.”
The NLRB said the rule was designed to significantly speed up the election process. But in the last 10 years, union elections have been held within a median of 38 days from the filing of the petition, fewer than the NLRB’s goal of 42 days.
As a result, SHRM believes that the NLRB has not made the case that this rule is necessary.
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