New NLRB Rules Already Impacting Employers

On April 14 of this year, new rules regulating union elections went into effect. These rules, promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), are widely expected to decrease the length of union elections and give organized labor a leg up in the election process. The rules limit the number of challenges management can bring during the pre-election timeframe, require the employer to give more personal employee contact information to the union, and remove mandatory time periods that establish a minimum length for election campaigns. Traditionally, unions have a better chance of winning elections that are quicker because the employer does not have enough time to mount an effective and thorough union-avoidance campaign. A new report gives employers a glimpse of how these rules are already impacting elections.

Before the rules went into effect, the median time for a union election was 38 days. In the month after the new rules went into effect, the median time has plummeted to 23 days, a reduction of more than two weeks. That’s two weeks less for employers to have one-on-one conversations with employees, to hold captive-audience speeches, and to distribute literature about their union-free position.

Additionally, the rules have resulted in a substantial increase in election petitions filed by unions compared to the same time period last year. From April 14 to May 14, the NLRB received 280 filings for representative elections compared to 240 during the same period last year. This represents a 17-percent increase year-over-year. To prepare for potential unionization drives, employers should review their compensation and benefits, train their supervisors to spot union activity, and ensure that they are enforcing their policies and procedures equally across the board. MSEC Labor Relations attorneys are available to provide on-site training on this issue.