Labor Board Votes to Change Election Rules

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In what can fairly be described by employers as "not good, but not as bad as it could have been," the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted 2-1 in favor of changing representation election proceedings by adopting a number of the technical changes, including giving Hearing Officers and Regional Directors much more discretion to decide the scope of a representation hearing.  Under the prior rule, if the employer and the union did not agree on the bargaining unit, the employer could engage in lenghtly litigation and the representation election was usually scheduled between 25 to 30 days from the date of a final decision. This timeframe gave the employer sufficient opportunity to communicate to workers before the election.

Under the newly adopted rule, it would be more difficult for an employer to litigate before the election.  By eliminating the employer’s challenge prior to the election,  the  election could be scheduled as soon as practicable by the Regional Director, which might mean 10 to 12 days after accepting the union’s position, thus impairing an employer's opportunity to run an effective election campaign.

While these rule changes do not constitute the “quickie election” rule that many employers feared, they may achieve the same result under certain circumstances.