The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has effectively issued provisions to the National Labor Relations Act regarding the representation case procedures, also known as the “ambush elections” ruling. As previously reported, these provisions shorten the election period to 14 days and place restrictions on employer communications to employees during this time period.
Several lawsuits have been filed in recent months by various business groups and two are still in litigation. A few weeks ago President Obama pocket vetoed a Congressional Review Act to stop the rules.
The rule went into effect yesterday, April 14. At this time, IWLA is preparing members to develop the best course of action in response to an election.
Overview of the Ambush Election Rules
The Coalition of a Democratic Workplace, of which IWLA is member, outlined the key changes of this rule:
- Shorten the election process to as few as 14 days from the current median time of 38 days and deprive employers of due process.
- Restrict communication between employers and employees prior to a union election,
- Requires that all pre-election hearings be set to begin within 8 days after a hearing notice is issued.
- Mandates that employers file a “Statement of Position” by noon on the day before the hearing begins. The Statement of Position must include a list of prospective voters with their names, job classifications, work shifts, and work locations.
- Provides Regional Directors with discretion to limit the scope of pre-election hearings, by excluding evidence on voter eligibility and delaying the resolution of those issues until after the election.
- Requires an employer to provide, within 2 business days of the election agreement or decision directing an election, employee personal telephone numbers and personal email addresses.
What You Should Do
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) makes the following recommendations to prepare:
- Train managers and supervisors on labor management issues. Topics for such training should include a discussion about your business’s position on unionization, early warning signs of union activity, and what and when your business may communicate lawfully with employees regarding union drives and signing union cards.
- Assess the vulnerability of your business. Conduct a review of your workplace to identify, address, and eliminate workplace grievances.
- Don’t be afraid to communicate with employees. Address your business’s labor relations philosophy in new hire orientation and in an employee handbook.
- If a union is knocking at your door, contact a labor attorney immediately.
Also, check out the NFIB’s Guide to Managing Unionization Efforts for excellent advice on what do to when facing an organizing campaign, union access to employees, and what you can and cannot communicate to your employees. IWLA will continue to keep a close eye on this issue and provide resources.
The ambush election ruling will be covered in detail during the IWLA Legislative Fly-in, April 28 & 29, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Register today!