On December 12, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) enacted its final rule relating to representation elections. As you may recall, the NLRB tried to implement a similar rule in 2011, but it was invalidated by court action.
Basically, an NLRB election will now take place much quicker than previously. Under the old procedures, it was not unusual for the representation election to take place 30 to 45 days after the Union’s filing of the representation petition. Under the new rules, it is possible (although not likely) that an election could take place in as few as 13 days after the petition was filed. Realistically, the new rules will, in most cases, establish an election date of 20 to 30 days after the petition is filed. How do the new rules accomplish the quickie election?
The new rules specify that there will be quicker pre-election hearings, a quicker submission of an employer statement of issues, quicker dissemination of employee information to the Union, and a narrow appeal from a Regional Director’s decision to order an election. There are other changes as well, all with the purpose of streamlining the pre-election process and postponing virtually all objections to after the election has been held.
As was the case in 2011, employers have argued that the time limits are much too short and do not give them sufficient time to campaign. Furthermore, employer groups have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the new rule, which have not yet been resolved. The new rule is scheduled to go into effect on April 14, 2015. Hopefully, the courts will give us guidance before then, but as of now, it certainly appears that the quickie election that employers have dreaded may be fast approaching.