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New NLRB Rule Speeds Union Votes

Thursday, September 3, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that took effect this April to streamline the election process for private-sector employees has sped the pace of union votes, yielding a 40 percent decline in average election times. NLRB data show that of the 344 elections held between April 14 and July 13, 2015, median time fell from 28 to 23 days, and from 59 to 25 days for contested elections. The rule allows election petitions and other documents to be filed electronically instead of by mail, and requires employers to give unions a list of employees' personal e-mail address. The rule also delays employer legal challenges to elections until after workers have cast ballots. Unions contend the changes prevent employers from using frivolous litigation to stall votes, claiming prolonged elections increase the likelihood that employers can unlawfully intimidate workers into voting no on specific measures. Employers, however, point to data that indicates unions already win about two-thirds of elections, and underscore the fact that unions have months to quietly prepare organizing campaigns that can blindside businesses, especially small ones that lack in-house counsel or labor relations staff. NLRB has not yet determined if unions are winning more elections under the rule.

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