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Coming soon to a company near you — fast track union elections?

November 22, 2011

A member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced the Board’s intent to push for a quick adoption of the proposed rule to expedite union elections.  Board member Brian Hayes stated that the NLRB is “committed to issuing a final” rule before Congress adjourns for the year. 

Why the rush? The Board, when at full strength, has five members.  It currently has only three members, and the term of Craig Becker, a Democrat, expires next month.  The prospect of a two-member NLRB has provided much of the impetus to move quickly on the proposed rule.  Last year, the Supreme Court held that a two-member Board lacks authority to take any significant action.

The rule, proposed in June, speeds up the timetable for having elections by requiring that the vote be held within 21 days of the filing of an election petition requesting the union. Business groups have voiced their opposition to the rule because the expedited timetable will make it more difficult for a business to effectively campaign against the union.

The NLRB has scheduled a November 30 vote on the proposal.  The idea of expedited elections was part of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which failed to gain Congressional momentum last year.  The NLRB appears to be using the rulemaking process to fulfill some of EFCA’s promises. Must be an election year.

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