The National Labor Relations Board new election rules, dubbed the “ambush election” or “quickie election” rules by critics, is a big windfall for unions. So, naturally, the GOP is staunchly opposed to them.
The NLRB’s rules were introduced in the waning days of 2014, and are slated to take effect in a little under two weeks (April 14). They reduce the amount of time between when a group files a union representation petition and when a union election will be held.
Some ways the rules accomplish this (among a host of others) include:
- allowing union petitions to be filed electronically
- decreasing the amount of time employers have to produce a voter list to labor organizations from seven to two days
- requiring a pre-election hearing to be schedule to begin eight days after a petition is submitted
- mandating regional directors schedule an election through a direction of election rather than permitting the parties to agree on a date, and
- eliminating the 25-day stay of election following the regional director’s decision and direction of election.
As a result of these rules, a union election can take place in less than two weeks after a union requests a vote. Typically, the process takes longer than a month.
In addition, the rules state employers must provide the personal email addresses and phone numbers of voters on the voter list so that labor organizations can communicate with those voters about the upcoming election.
House and Senate fight back
Upset by what seems like the extremely union-friendly nature of these rules, Republicans tried to block the rules from taking effect using the Congressional Review Act. Under the act, both houses of Congress can vote to pass a resolution disapproving rules created by an executive agency.
With votes mostly along party lines, the House and Senate approved such a resolution to block the NLRB’s election rules.
Obama’s response after seeing the resolution: Nice try. He then pulled his trump card, signing a memorandum of disapproval (essentially a veto).
The Obama Administration hasn’t been shy about creating policy via executive order — rather than going through the typical Congressional legislative process — and it doesn’t appear ready to back down now.
For now, it appears the best hope opponents of the rule have in terms of halting the new regulations is a lawsuit that was just filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Filed by a coalition of organization and industry representative groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation and Society for Human Resource Management — the lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting the NLRB from enforcing the rule and an order vacating the rule.
Stay tuned: We’ll keep you posted on the outcome of this suit.