The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) implemented its “ambush” or “quickie” election rules on April 14, 2015. An analysis of available NLRB data on representation election (RC) petitions filed since the effective date of the new rules yields some interesting information for retail and hospitality employers. 

Overall, RC petitions at the NLRB since the effective date of the ambush election rules have increased close to 15 percent as compared to the same time period last year. Petitions against retail and hospitality employers represented only 8 percent of the new RC petitions filed, with 4 percent filed against employers each sector. The top industry group for new RC petitions was healthcare and life sciences. The top two unions representing retail employees in the new RC petitions have been the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. While, for hospitality workers, the top two unions have been the International Union of Operating Engineers (AFL-CIO), and Unite Here.

The top state for RC petition filings against retail and hospitality employers, as well as against all employers in all industries, was New York. The proposed unit size in RC petitions against retail employers has ranged from as low as five employees to as large as 86, with most petitions seeking to certify groups of less than 20 employees. And in the hospitality sector, the proposed unit size has ranged from a low of 4 employees to as large as 6,300, with most petitions seeking to certify groups of less than 50 employees. Although most of the petitions against retail and hospitality employers were either withdrawn or are still pending as of the writing of this post, of the dozen or so petitions that proceeded to an election, the majority resulted in union wins. The duration of these elections ranged from a low of 14 days to a high of 50 days.