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Retailers decry 'devastating' NLRB ruling

Retailers on Friday decried the National Labor Relations Board decision to proceed with new laws to expedite the union election process.

The amendments, to go into effect April 14, provide for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents; eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation; and allows parties to consolidate election-related appeals to the board into a single appeals process, the NLRB said in a statement.

Retailers represented by trade groups National Grocers Association, National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association said the ruling would allow for “ambush elections” unfair to employers and workers.

“This is a devastating rule for employees throughout the retail industry,” David French, NRF’s SVP of government relations, said in a statement. “These men and women will be forced to make a decision that could drastically change their workplace environment without adequate information and time to consider the issues before them. The NLRB already conducts a vast majority of representation elections within a reasonable time frame and this rule is simply unnecessary and unfair.”

The NGA and RILA also issued statements expressing disappointment in the ruling, and all said they would explore congressional or legal action.

The NLRB first introduced the rules in 2011, but they were shot down by a District Court for having been adopted without a validly constituted quorum. Following the appointment of a full slate of five board members in 2013, the rules were reintroduced earlier this year.


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“I am heartened that the Board has chosen to enact amendments that will modernize the representation case process and fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act,” NLRB chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said in a statement. “Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.”

Pearce and Democratic board members Kent Y. Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer voted to approve the changes. Republican appointees Philip A. Miscimarra and Harry I. Johnson III dissented.

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