The National Labor Relations Board has published a final rule backing away from its 2011 proposed changes to union election procedures, known as the “quickie election” rule. Currently, the average union election lasts about two months from inception to voting, whereas the rule could have shortened that time down to barely two weeks. This would have given unions a distinct advantage in organizing workplaces, as employers may not have had an opportunity to mount effective election campaigns in such a short time.
The NLRB claimed that the union elections and procedures include “unnecessary barriers” to a short election time frame, and thus proposed changing said procedures. However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed suit shortly after the changes were unveiled, claiming that the rule was invalid, in part, because the NLRB did not have a proper quorum at the time the proposal was voted on. Last year, the U.S. District Court of Columbia agreed, but left the door open for the NLRB to revisit the issue with a proper quorum.
Originally, the NLRB appealed the decision, but it withdrew its appeal last month. In publishing this rule, the NLRB stated that they have restored the “relevant language in the Code of Federal Regulations to that which existed” prior to the 2011 proposal. As such, union election procedures remain unchanged. We will keep you abreast of NLRB rulemaking on potential future changes to union election rules.