Since the NLRB’s ambush rules were implemented on April 14, there has been a spike in union petitions and a dramatic reduction in time between the date of the petition and an election. Here are the numbers:
Union petitions prior to March 30: average of 42/week
Union petitions in week following April 14: 60
Union petitions in last week of April: 80
Based on a sample of 42 petitions by the labor research group Hunton & Williams, the average time between the date of a petition and election fell from 38 days to 23.3 days; 3 cases had elections in 13 days or less and 7 cases had elections in 19 days or less. No case had a time between petition and election that reached the prior average.
The message to those who want to remain union-free: you should have a rapid response plan in place now. An effective rapid response plan would include, at a minimum:
- training your supervisors not only on the basics but also on how to respond effectively to questions from employees about unions,
- achieving confidence that your supervisors are statutory supervisors,
- integrating your workforce to avoid micro-units,
- updating organizing control policies,
- bringing conduct rules into compliance with current Board law,
- creating procedures that will enable you to take favorable and provable positions within 6 1/2 days from the date of the petition, and
- putting the first two weeks of a campaign into the “can,” recognizing that two weeks may be all you have.
Can you mount an effective union-free program within 24 hours of notice of union organizing? If not, you may be taking an unreasonable business risk.