On February 5, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reissued its proposal to radically shorten the time frame between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place. In essence, this proposed rule will allow labor unions to "ambush" employers with union elections with little notice. Currently, the average time between a petition being filed and the election being held is 38 days. The NLRB's proposal (the "Ambush Rule") may shorten that time frame to as little as 10 days, which gives employers very little time to prepare itself for a union's petitioned election.
Anyone following our E-Alerts and/or Newsletters will likely recall this topic from prior updates. The NLRB has proposed its Ambush Rule for years despite significant political and business opposition. In fact, the NLRB issued a statement in May 2012 stating that it was "indefinitely suspending" a modified form of its original Ambush Rule proposal after being struck down by a federal court (for a procedural technicality). Now, the NLRB has re-issued the original, more onerous Rule and plans to move forward with finalizing it - to no one's surprise - quickly.
The Labor Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives has called the NLRB's General Counsel before it next week to address concerns over the Rule. In a February 6, 2014, letter to the NLRB, the Committee stated, "This rule will seriously limit employer free speech and undermine employee free choice," and "[d]espite opposition from Congress, employers, and employees ... the NLRB published a new rule that includes the same misguided policies." Notably, the Ambush Rule has approximately 70,000 public comments against it, yet the NLRB seems determined to continue down its path to allow unions the ability to organize a workplace and hold a vote in a matter of days.