NLRB to Revisit “Quickie” Election Rule

As if the groundhog’s recent proclamation of six more weeks of winter were not bad enough, the National Labor Relations Board announced yesterday that it again is proposing a rule that could expedite the union election process. The proposed “quickie” election rule is identical to a rule the Board proposed in June 2011 and (once again) is open to a 60-day public comment period. The Board will consider comments to the prior rule in addition to those it receives by April 7, 2014. Replies to the comments are due a week later on April 14, 2014.

As previously reported here, the Board issued a quickie election rule in December 2011 (based on the June 2011 proposal), only to have a federal court invalidate the rule a few months later because just two of a minimally required three Board members were present when the NLRB passed the rule. Although the Board now has a full complement of five members, the Board’s authority to issue a quickie election rule is almost certain to be substantively challenged when it issues a final rule.

The prospect of a quickie election rule is concerning to businesses largely because it could leave them with limited time to educate employees about unions before an election, and, therefore, prevent workers from making an informed choice regarding union representation. As employers await a final rule, they should reach out to a lawyer in the Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Department to discuss how they can ensure their workers understand the consequences of unionization—quickie election or not.

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