NLRB unwinds 'quickie' election rule

  • December 13, 2019

The NLRB said today it will change more than a dozen processes in advance of union elections — an effort aimed at making the process more efficient, the board’s Republican majority said, but one that Democrats argue will bog down the process for workers trying to organize.

The changes repeal core parts of the Obama-era ‘quickie’ election rule that sought to boost unions’ organizing leverage. In a final rule  posted on the Federal Register, the NLRB said it generally will require disputes over the scope of a bargaining unit and voter eligibility to be litigated at pre-election hearings, reversing an Obama-era requirement for businesses to postpone virtually all litigation until after workers vote on whether to join the union. Unions argue that pre-election litigation is a stalling tactic that favors management.

The NLRB said it will extend a notice requirement for pre-election hearings from 8 calendar days to 14 business days; require employers to post notices of an election petition five days before service of a hearing notice, compared to two days under current procedure; and instruct regional directors to in many circumstances schedule an election for the 20th business day after a direction of election is issued. The rule, in addition, lengthens the time frame by three days in which employers must provide voter lists after a direction of election is issued.

“The controversial 2014 rule drastically altered union election policies, crippling workers’ rights in order to benefit union bosses,” House Education and Labor ranking member Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), said in a written statement. “Workers around the country deserve the opportunity to be fully informed before a union election is held, and today’s rule will ensure that ambush elections are a thing of the past.“

Lauren McFerran, the sole Democratic NLRB member, criticized the change, saying it will extend the minimum time frame of contested elections from 23 days to 78 days.

“The primary effect of these changes will be to dramatically increase the timetable for conducting representation elections by imposing unnecessary delay at each stage of the representation case process,” McFerran wrote in her dissent.