Last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a proposed rule that would shorten the labor elections time target from the current 40-45 days after a petition is filed by a union requesting an election to 10-21 days. This proposed change would give employers less than two weeks to communicate to employees about the potential disadvantages of unions in general or the specific union attempting to organize. While employers would have a shorter window of opportunity to communicate to employees, union representatives would be able to continue to organize employees for as long as they desire prior to filing a petition.
In conjunction, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a rule that would require employers to disclose nearly all communication with employees regarding unions if a consultant or attorney assisted the employer. The employer would be required to provide NLRB with a list of all voters within two days of NLRB’s decision regarding the voting unit, rather than the current 7 day, after which NLRB would turn the list over to the union. Additionally, the proposed rules would require that a pre-election hearing be held seven days after the petition is served. Employers would be required to file a statement of position identifying all issues of concern by the hearing date. During the hearing the employer would not be given opportunity to bring up any issue that is not identified within the statement of position.
The proposed regulations bypass the legislative process by implementing via regulation proposals similar to the failed Employee Free Choice Act, which was rejected by Congress. The business community has an opportunity to express its opposition to the proposed rules during the current 60-day comment period. Public comments should be submitted electronically or by mail or hand-delivery to Lester Heltzer, Executive Secretary, NLRB, 1099 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20570. Reply comments to the initial comments may be filed during an additional 14 day period. In addition, members of the public will be invited to attend a public hearing, to be scheduled for July 18 and July 19, if necessary, to comment on the proposed amendments and make other suggestions for improving the Board’s representation case procedures.