The NLRB’s controversial “quickie election” rule is slated to take effect April 14, 2015. That’s next week! Two lawsuits filed by employer groups in January to block the rule are pending in separate federal courts of appeals. However, absent a “hail Mary” ruling by one of these courts, employers have to ask themselves if they are prepared for the NLRB’s new election rule that takes effect next Tuesday.
The NLRB’s General Counsel (“GC”) has taken further steps to ensure that his office is ready. On April 6, 2015, NLRB GC Richard F. Griffin, Jr. issued a 36-page guidance memorandum to ensure that all of the NLRB’s Regional Offices will be prepared to implement the election rule changes immediately on their effective date. The guidance states more than once that neither the final rule nor the guidance memorandum establishes new timeframes for conducting elections. However, the impact of the changes are clearly evident from other specific statements in the guidance. For example, the “Direction of Election” section of the guidance underscores that, “absent extraordinary circumstances,” an employer must provide the voter list to the regional director within 2 business days after the issuance of a direction of election. Elections could then be scheduled to be conducted 10 days after the voter eligibility list is provided, or shorter, if all parties consent.
As we have previously reported in December 2014 and February 2014, the impact of the new election rule will be to significantly shorten the period between when a petition for an election is filed and when the election is held. Many employers were able to use that time to turn the tide on pro-union sentiments within the voting group. That opportunity will be greatly reduced, perhaps cut in half, under the new rule. Employers will need to be more proactive to prevent union organizing sentiments from gaining traction within their workforce and less reactive to union organizing if they wish to remain nonunion under the new election rule.