NLRB Issues New Quick Election Rules

December 16, 2014 By Ray Neusch and Steve McDevitt
Legal update

On December 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published final rules intended to shorten drastically the time in which unions can obtain elections to become the representatives of employees in the workplace.  They are scheduled to take effect on April 14, 2015.  Virtually identical to previous rules invalidated by a federal court, the final rules are controversial because of their content and the way they were issued.  The divisive rules are certain to elicit legal challenges from employers.

In a press release, the Board heralded the rule changes as an effort to “modernize and streamline the process for resolving representation disputes.”  The emphasis is on significantly reducing the time between the filing of an election petition and the date of the election.  Below is a summary highlighting some of the new rules.

Although employers cannot know the real effect of the rules until after they are implemented on April 14, 2015, it is clear the Board wants quicker elections with less Board oversight. 

Employer groups are certain to challenge both the content and method of implementation of the rules.  It is not clear how that ultimately will play out in the courts.  One thing, however, is certain.  Under the new rules, an employer will have substantially less time to communicate with its employees about the meaning and effect of being represented by a union.  Consequently, union-free employers must be even more vigilant than ever about spotting signs of employee dissatisfaction and resolving workplace issues.  They must also be prepared to quickly implement strategies to combat union organizational efforts.

Please contact Ray Neusch, John Lovett or any other member of Frost Brown Todd's Labor and Employment Practice Group to understand the new union election rules.