Now that the Senate has failed to pass a resolution and a judge has refused to issue an injunction, American businesses are officially subject to the National Labor Relations Board's new "quickie election" rule. As of Monday April 30, the rule became law.
The provisions are expected to shorten the time between the filing of a representation petition and a union election. Experts are predicting that the timeframe will drop from 56 days to about 30.
NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has issued a memorandum outlining major changes under the quickie election rule. Most prominently, the rule:
- Limits the number and timing of hearings. Pre-election hearings will only be held if disputed employee classifications are more than 10% of the proposed bargaining unit or if there is an issue of whether the election should be held. Most eligibility determinations will be dealt with post-vote.
- Gives Regional Directors the option of scheduling a hearing within 7 days of a petition. If granted, a hearing can be cut short and streamlined.
- Gives hearing directors the power to decide whether to accept post-hearing briefs.
- Delays appeals and Board reviews until after the election.
These changes significantly shorten the amount of time you have to prepare for employee unionization. As such, a number of labor specialists recommend that corporate counsel start preparing now. Besides training supervisors, some suggest that you start working on ways to make union representation unnecessary. This includes revamping employee relations programs and increasing communication.
The reality is that the only way to avoid the impact of the quickie election rule is to have no need for the rule at all.