On Friday December 12, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it has adopted a final rule to “modernize and streamline” its procedures for union representation elections. The new rules, first proposed in 2011, then shelved and resurrected in February 2014, will (among other things) drastically reduce the amount of time between a union’s filing of a petition for an election, and the holding of the election itself. Today, by a party-line vote of 3-2, the NLRB moved to make the so-called “quickie” or “ambush” election rules final. The final rule will publish on December 15, 2014, and take effect on April 14, 2015. 

The new rules have been described in a previous Calfee Update. As described by the Board, the proposed changes would:

Allow for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;

The greatest effect of the new rules will likely be the reduced time period between receipt of the election petition and the vote itself − from a current average of 42 days down to as little as 10 days. 

In a related development, just one day before announcing the final new election rules, the NLRB issued a decision reversing years of precedent and ruling that employees have a right to use their employers’ email systems for union organizing purposes.