On December 12, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued its long anticipated, or perhaps dreaded, regulations designed to expedite elections, thus improving organized labor’s opportunities to organize. The issuance of those rules follows, by one day, the NLRB decision in Purple Communications, which is described elsewhere in this newsletter.
The regulations establish a fast track process for litigating issues involved with the election and proceeding to the election itself.
The new rules include the following:
- A hearing, if one is necessary, will generally be held within eight days of the filing of the petition.
- The day before the hearing the employer will be required to submit a list of issues it believes exists with respect to the petition’s description of the voting group, as well as a list of voters in the group described by the union and an additional list if the employer believes that other employees should be eligible to vote.
- At the hearing, individual employee eligibility normally will not be litigated. By and large, the litigation will be limited to which job groups, departments, or geography locations will be included in the election.
- Two days after the post-hearing decision on the issues, the employer will be required to submit a list of all eligible voters in the unit found to be appropriate, including their phone numbers (including cell numbers) and email addresses, where the employer has them available.
As a result of the above changes, the time between the filing of the petition and the election will be shortened from approximately forty days to, in most cases, fourteen to twenty-one days.
Since the regulations will not be effective until April 14, 2015, employers now have an opportunity to review not only their email policies, pursuant to Purple Communications, but also to consider its game plan when it becomes aware that union organizing is going on or may be starting up. Employers will no longer have the luxury of a six to seven week campaign during which it can tell its side of the story. It must be prepared to react quickly upon gaining knowledge of a union’s organizational campaign.