As a former hearing officer and prosecuting attorney in the Chicago Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board and, currently, an attorney assisting companies in maintaining a union-free workplace, I have been closely following the statistics on "quickie elections" ever since the Board implemented its final rule on "quickie elections." The NLRB's final rule on "quickie elections," which is designed to streamline NLRB procedures governing representation, has made it more difficult for employers to take action against union organizing campaigns. Now that the statistics illustrating the effects of the NLRB "quickie elections" rule are in, what are the statistics and what do the statistics mean?
First, the bad news. According to statistics issued by the Board's General Counsel, the median number of days between the date a union files a petition requesting an election and the election has fallen by 12 days from a median of 37 days in 2014, to 25 days in 2015. In other words, companies have lost almost two weeks of a pro-company campaign to convince employees to vote in favor of the company and against a union. This is valuable time the company has lost to educate its employees about unions and the implications of their vote in favor of union representation.
Surprisingly, however, statistics show that, despite the NLRB's "quickie election" rule, the percentage of petitions filed by unions and elections won by unions has stayed relatively the same from before the Board implemented the new rules on April 14, 2015. The total number of petitions for elections filed by unions has increased, but only slightly, from 1,790 to 1,818. These statistics compared the 9-month period of time between April 14, 2015 and January 14, 2016 with a similar 2014-15 time period.
The total number of elections, however, during the 2015-16 year decreased from 1,243 to 1,135. This can be explained by a number of different reasons: it could be that the Board dismissed the union's petitions or that the unions voluntarily withdrew their petitions, probably because they realized they could not win the elections. Of the elections that were held, the percentage of wins by unions stayed about the same in 2015 compared to 2014. During the 9-month period between April 14, 2015 and January 14, 2016, unions won 68.9% of the elections, although they won 70.2% of elections during the previous 2014-15 time period.
What can explain the relatively unchanged percentage of union wins despite the streamlined, "quickie election" rule? The answer is that companies are acting proactively to remain union-free even before unions enter into the picture. Before a company knows that its employees are talking about unions and even before a union files a petition for an election, companies have begun to measure the degree to which they are vulnerable to a union organizing campaign. Companies compare their wage rates to those of other companies in the same geographical area or industrial park, draft policies, train supervisors and implement procedures to create and ensure an issue-free workplace. Companies solve their employees' problems and complaints rather than creating an environment in which the employees seek help from an outside, third party.
These actions are important in keeping a company union-free. Statistics show that "quickie elections" are, in fact, taking place even if the numbers are not quite as dramatic as they could have been. Companies who are not taking any of the above-described actions to remain union-free are advised to implement Masuda Funai's Ever Ready Anti-Union Campaign.™