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Will the new NLRB election rules really become effective?

April 13, 2015

As we noted in our blog post on December 15, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board’s new rules concerning union elections are scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. While lawsuits challenging the new rules could delay the effective date or invalidate the rules altogether, employers should be prepared for the rules to take effect as scheduled.

Because the new rules are designed to streamline and expedite the election process, employers will have less time to respond and run an effective campaign concerning the election. Employers should take steps now to prepare for the fast track petition.

Employers should train supervisors and managers now about unions, especially to recognize the signs of union organizing and to inform them about the election process. Supervisors and managers need to know what to say to employees and what to report to management.  Just as important, however, supervisors need to know what they cannot say to employees and what activities they should avoid monitoring.

Employers should establish a rapid response team to gain a strategic advantage in the event a petition is filed. Identifying key team members and preparing for communications now will save time once an election petition is filed.

Employers should also anticipate likely legal issues, such as the supervisory status of individuals and the scope of an appropriate bargaining unit to facilitate a quick response in the event a petition is filed. Employers should also maintain up to date employee lists that would be required in a campaign.

Lastly, employers would be well advised to revisit existing union avoidance plans. Special attention must be given to developing and maintaining sound employment relations programs that pay employees competitively and treat employees fairly.  Happy employees rarely organize. The best approach to an organizing campaign is to avoid one altogether.

For more information about the NLRB’s new election rules, please see the General Counsel’s Guidance Memorandum on Representation Case Procedure Changes Effective April 14, 2015.

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