In just one month, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new election rules will go into effect. What will this mean for your business? Two things: (1) elections will proceed quicker than ever before; and (2) you will have fewer opportunities to raise challenges throughout the election process. These rules illustrate the importance of engaging in union prevention efforts long before organizing begins.
The specific changes are briefly outlined below:
Greater Hearing Officer Discretion: Pre-Election Hearings. The rules explicitly state that the sole goal of a pre-election hearing is to determine whether a question of representation exists and give the hearing officer discretion to limit the topics discussed at the hearing.
Greater Hearing Officer Discretion: Post-Hearing Briefs. Hearing officers will have the discretion to control the filing, subject matter, and timing of any post-hearing briefs.
Consolidation of Pre-Election and Post-Election Appeals. Currently, parties may file separate pre-election and post-election appeals. The new rule consolidates the two appeals into a single post-election procedure.
No 25-Day Waiting Period. Currently, an election may not be scheduled sooner than 25 days after a regional director has issued a pre-election decision. Since the new rules consolidate the pre-election and post-election appeals into a single post-election procedure, the 25 day waiting period will be eliminated.
High burden for Interlocutory Appeals. Appeals of any issues that arise during the election (such as what evidence may, or may not, be permitted) will only be considered under “extraordinary circumstances where it appears that the issue will otherwise evade review.”
Greater Discretion Regarding Post-Election Procedures. Regional directors may resolve challenges and objections to elections without a formal hearing if “there are no substantial or material factual issues in dispute.” Additionally, the NLRB would have the discretion to decline to review regional directors’ decisions.
The new rules will not make it easier for a union to engage in organizing efforts, nor will it affect those employers who already have unions. However, once the election machinery has begun to run, elections will occur quicker than ever before. Organizations looking to avoid a union should start engaging in union avoidance efforts now. If you have any questions about the new rules or would like to learn more about how to build a positive, productive, and union-free work environment, please contact any of our attorneys.