NLRB and U.S. DOL Propose New Rules Affecting Union Representation Elections and Persuader Reporting

On June 22, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) published proposed rule changes in the Federal Register, which, if enacted, will dramatically accelerate the timeframes for union representation elections. One day earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (“DOL”) published proposed rules to narrow the interpretation of the term “advice” as it pertains to the persuader reporting requirements set forth within Section 203 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (“LMRDA”). Together, these proposed changes create new burdens for employers who wish to communicate with employees about collective bargaining and workplace unionization. If enacted, the practical result of these proposed changes (whether intended or not) is that they will create tactical advantages for organized labor that will in turn help unions win an increased number of representation elections.