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National Labor Relations Board Election Rules Update

May 10, 2015 by Joseph L. Guza

The National Labor Relations Board implemented new election rules on April 14, 2015. The new rules are an attempt to streamline and expedite the union election process, providing employees with a quick and efficient means to organize.

According to the NLRB Representation Case-Procedures Fact Sheet, "The final 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."  

In the right circumstances, the new NLRB election rules will decrease the time between filing an election petition and workers voting on whether to unionize.

In the right circumstances, the new NLRB election rules will decrease the time between filing an election petition and workers voting on whether to unionize.

Among the most controversial of the new rules is the reduction of time in the union election process. Dubbed the "quickie election," the new rule aims to shorten the amount of time between an employer's receipt of an election petition from a union and when the employees can actually vote on union representation. Currently, 42 days separate the notification of an election from the actual election. The new rule reduces this time span to 13 days, or 10 days in certain circumstances.

Some contend the longer time period allows employers to coerce and harass employees into voting against union representation, either by over-emphasizing or lying to them about the alleged downsides and costs of organizing or by withholding pertinent information about it.

Notable changes under the new NLRB election rules

  • Election petitions can be filed online
  • Authorization cards must be filed simultaneously with the election petition
  • The employer must complete a “statement of position” form describing, among other things, the issues it intends to raise at the pre-election hearing
  • The regional director must set a pre-election hearing date eight days from service of the notice of petition. The hearing date may be extended by two business days by a showing of special circumstances or by four business days by a showing of extraordinary circumstances
  • Employers are required to provide the union with a list of eligible voters (the so-called Excelsior list) within two days of a direction of election, including names, home addresses, home and cell phone numbers, email addresses, work locations, shifts, and classifications

For unions seeking a board-conducted election in the context of an organizing campaign, the new rules offer potentially powerful organizing tools—even in cases where a union ultimately loses or withdraws from an election. For building-trades unions seeking to convert from 8(f) to 9(a) representative status, the new rules should make what is generally a simple process even simpler.

Whatever your reason for pursuing a board-conducted election, NLRB’s new election rules are the status quo after April 14, 2015, so it behooves all union representatives to become familiar with them.

Who can help?

Based in Buffalo, New York, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria's labor and employment lawyers take great pride in having served unions and workers for more than 50 years. The seasoned and experienced labor and employment lawyers have been named to U.S.News/Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" for Labor Law—Union, Employment Law, and Employee Benefits Law.

For assistance with filing a petition under the new election rules or any other labor matter, contact Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria today.

This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

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