Yesterday, the NLRB issued a proposed rule that would make it easier for unions to organize your workforce by shortening the time period between the filing of a petition for a secret ballot election and the election itself. The most significant proposed changes include:
- Holding a pre-election hearing within 7 days of the filing of an election petition.
- Eliminating many of the grounds on which an employer can challenge appropriateness of the petitioned for unit during the pre-election hearing. Such challenges could be raised only at a post election hearing.
- Eliminating an employer’s right to file a post-hearing/pre-election appeal of the Regional Director’s decision and order directing an election.
- Requiring employers to provide names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of all employees in the proposed bargaining unit within 2 days (as opposed to 7 days under the current rule) of the direction of election.
- Requiring the election to be scheduled “at the earliest date practicable.” The current practice has been to schedule the election no later than 60 days from the date the petition for election was filed.
- Holding any required post election hearing within 14 days after the election.
An employer could find itself in the midst of a union election within two weeks of the filing of a petition for election under this proposed rule. Given that most employers are unaware of union organizing efforts until a petition for election is filed, this timeline essentially eliminates any ability the employer may have to effectively counter the union organizing effort.
This is a proposed rule. The NLRB will now consider public comment, and a final vote on a final rule could occur later this year. We will keep you apprised of further developments on this proposed rule, and will provide more in-depth analysis in future L& E law watch updates.