The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday said it would seek to reintroduce procedures designed to streamline union certification processes.
The proposed rule changes are similar to those that were introduced in 2011 but subsequently shot down by a District Court for having been adopted without a validly constituted quorum.
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The reintroduction Wednesday was approved by NLRB chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and members Kent Y. Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer. Republican board members Philip A. Miscimarra and Harry I. Johnson III dissented.
Business groups including the Retail Industry Leaders Association swiftly voiced their objection, saying the proposal would allow for “ambush” elections in as little as 10 days.
Pearce in a statement said reissuing the 2011 proposals “is the most efficient and effective rulemaking process at this time.”
The reforms propose to:
• Allow for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents.
• Ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process.
• Streamline pre- and post-election procedures to facilitate agreement and eliminate unnecessary litigation.
• Include telephone numbers and email addresses in voter lists to enable parties to the election to communicate with voters using modern technology.
• Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process.
“Unnecessary delay and inefficiencies hurt both employees and employers. These proposals are intended to improve the process for all parties, in all cases, whether non-union employees are seeking a union to represent them or unionized employees are seeking to decertify a union,” Pearce said. “We look forward to further exchanges of ideas to improve the processes in a way that will benefit workers, employers and all of the American people.”
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Bill Hughes, SVP for government affairs for Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents large retailers, denounced the proposed changes in a statement.
“Quite simply, this flawed NLRB proposal would subject workers to harassment at home while also denying workers reasonable time to understand and consider the implications that the election will have on their job,” Hughes said. “The NLRB’s pattern of undermining employer and employee rights is deeply troubling. The ambush elections rule, along with another NLRB decision that creates micro-unions, weakens employee and employer rights, stifling employee advancement at a time when we can least afford it.”
According to NLRB data, the median number of days between a petition and a union election is 38 days.
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