On April 14, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board’s new election rule went into effect. The new rule, which shortens the time frame for union elections, will make it easier for unions to organize. Employers must get prepared now, not when they hear about an election. As the NLRB Members who dissented from the final rule noted:
The Final Rule has become the Mount Everest of regulations: Massive in scale and unforgiving in its effect. Very few people will have the endurance to read the Final Rule in its entirety.
Here are some highlights of the new rule:
- Within 2 business days after service of the Notice of the Pre-Election Hearing, the employer must post a Notice of Petition for Election. The employer must also distribute the notice via e-mail if the employer customarily communicates with employees via e-mail.
- A Pre-Election hearing will be scheduled within 8 days from the Notice.
- The employer must file a Statement of Position (new form) within 7 days of the Notice of Petition identifying any issues it wishes to litigate at the hearing. Any issues not raised are waived.
- The employer must provide a list of employees, including detailed contact information. And, if the employer believes that the classification unit is inappropriate, a separate list of all individuals the employer claims should be added or excluded in the proposed unit must be provided.
- The voter list must be filed with the NLRB and the union.
- After the hearing, objections must be filed within seven days after the tally of ballots and must specify the reason for each objection along with a written offer of proof identifying the witness(es) who would testify in support of each objection and what they would say if they provided testimony.
For those of you not familiar with litigation, this is like going to trial within 10 days of being served with a lawsuit. You have to be prepared well ahead of any organizing activity to effectively defend against the organizing efforts.
For those of you that want to read more, here are a few links to information about the new rule that the NLRB issued:
- The NLRB’s comparison chart showing changes of the new rule;
- NLRB powerpoint on Changes to the Rules;
- NLRB Forms, including Election Petition, Employer Statement of Position; and
- GC 15_06 Guidance Memorandum on Representation Case Procedure Changes Effective April 14_ 2015.pdf.
Take Away: Union organizing is a real threat to every merit shop. Now is the time to get prepared for an election campaign–well before the campaign begins.