On June 21, 2011, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a proposed rule to bring changes that have been sought by unions. The proposed rule will result in companies having less time and opportunity to block unions by speeding up voting in labor elections, accelerating deadlines, and streamlining procedures.
The NLRB issued a statement and Fact Sheet and Summary indicating that its proposal would eliminate “unnecessary barriers,” reduce litigation and consolidate the review of challenges. The proposed rule will force elections “in 10 to 21 days after the filing” of a petition to create a union. According to the NLRB, the median time for a union currently is 38 days from the petition to the vote. In his lone dissent, Brian Hayes, the NLRB’s only Republican member, stated that deadlines that tight will “effectively eviscerate an employer’s legitimate opportunity to express its views about collective bargaining.”
Unions have sought NLRB action to speed elections since losing their fight in Congress for “card-check” legislation. The measure, backed by Obama, would have let workers form a union without an election if a
majority of employees signed cards backing the move. While companies now can permit the card- check procedure, most demand elections.
The NLRB issued its proposal a day after the U.S. Labor Department proposed requiring companies to make more detailed disclosures about consultants hired to help counter union organizing. Currently, employers have to provide that information only if the consultants contact employees directly.