The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed new union election procedures. The proposed rule is open to public comment up till April 7, 2014 –and the final ruling is expected to be issued before the end of the year. Many feel that these changes will skew the election process to favor unions.
Similar rules proposed by the NLRB in 2011were struck down by a court of law; mainly because the Board lacked a quorum at the time. Now, all required members of the Board is in place and is pleased to bring back their proposed set of rules, claiming that the changes will facilitate the swift resolution of questions concerning representation, eliminate unnecessary litigation, and make it considerably easier for unions to organize employees and win elections. Close observation makes it apparent that they are not significantly different from the rules proposed in 2011; hence the sense of déjà vu.
Some salient features of the new proposal:
As would be expected, sides are being formed and groups are organizing to support or defeat this change. Business organizations are concerned that this new proposal will make it difficult for employers to make a meaningful presentation of their position and also make it difficult for employees to make informed choices. They argue that the changes will reduce the current time between announcement of an upcoming election and the actual vote will be less than 25 days. Union supporters believe that these changes will eliminate the extensive litigation aimed solely at stalling an election.
While we all wait to see the outcome of this proposal, employers who wish to avoid unionization should use this period to correct non-competitive workplace conditions such as:
Last year, unions represented 11.3% of U.S. workers, down from about 20% in 1983. We may be about to find out if that decline is due – at least in part – to attempts by employers to delay unionizations actions and intimidate workers. We welcome your thoughts.
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