The National Labor Relations Board last week resumed its effort to permit accelerated elections long sought by organized labor to limit the ability of employers to respond to union organizing efforts.
The NLRB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking Tuesday on an initiative that would curtail employers’ ability to appeal eligibility and other issues prior to a union representation election. A federal court invalidated an earlier NLRB attempt to issue a “quickie election” rule because the agency lacked a quorum when it approved the regulation.
AIM was among several business groups nationally to have brought that court action.
Abbreviated union elections place employers at a disadvantage because most don’t find out about a union campaign until it is well under way- frequently when the union has more than 75 percent of the potential unit employees signed up. Short elections provide insufficient time for a company to combat potential misrepresentations that the union has been able to make without the opportunity for an opposing view.
Among other changes, the proposed rule:
- Eliminates the current requirement that a union representation vote cannot be held sooner than 25 days after the NLRB’s regional director issues a Direction of Election.
- Requires that unions be given employee email addresses and telephone numbers prior to the election. Currently, the union receives a list of eligible voters from the employer prior to the election. The list contains employees' full names and home addresses, but not their email addresses and telephone numbers.
Analysts believe the rule could shrink the average time from union petition to election from the current 38 days to as few as 10 days. The change comes despite the fact that the NLRB has met or exceeded its own goals during the past decade for the time it takes to conduct an election.
Unions have been successful in approximately two-thirds of representation elections during the past two years and that success rate is certain to improve with a compressed election schedule. Unions are also likely to target small employers that were previously uneconomical to organize.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts encourages employers to express their opposition to the proposed rule changes in one of several ways:
- Contact your federal representatives and to express your displeasure.
- Send your comments on the proposed rulemaking to http://www.regulations.gov. (Search for the proposed rule using Docket ID No. NLRB-2011-0002 and follow the instructions for comments.)
- Send your comments to Gary Shinners, Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board, 1099 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20570.
AIM also urges employers to address the conditions that invite unions into your company and focus on making a union unnecessary.
- Training supervisors, managers and senior teams to recognize and fix problems before they become prominent features of your company’s culture.
- Creating a positive work environment that responds to issues and doesn’t ignore them.
- Dealing with those problem supervisors and managers who undercut your culture.
- Training your management team at all levels to recognize the behavioral and group changes that occur during a union drive while it is still underground.
- Fixing what you already know ails your organization.
- Training you management team, from top to bottom, in what they can and cannot say when discussing unions and employees right to organize.
AIM can provide your organization guidance and training in each of these issues. Contact Gary MacDonald at 617.488.8348, firstname.lastname@example.org for details.