On April 26, 2012, the General Counsel (“GC”) of the National Labor Relations Board issued a Guidance Memorandum on the NLRB’s new “Quickie Election” procedures, which are set to take effect on April 30, 2012. In the memorandum, the GC first “justified” the NLRB’s need to make changes to the way representation elections are conducted, and then outlined the major changes to the process.
In a nutshell, the changes will speed up the way representation elections are conducted, which in turn, will hinder employers’ abilities to oppose union representation campaigns. Some people – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – have referred to these new procedures as “ambush” elections, because of the way that employers could be prevented from effectively challenging a union representation campaign.
For instance, the new rules eliminate the current restriction that elections cannot be held until at least 25 days after a direction of election. In addition, the NLRB has amended – or should I say, taken away – the ways that employers can challenge whether representation elections are even appropriate or whether certain individuals should even be voting in the elections. The NLRB has also amended – or again, should I say, taken away – employers’ rights to appeal decisions by hearing officers on pre-election rulings. Finally, the NLRB has eliminated the practice of giving parties the right to file post-hearing briefs for pre-election hearings, and instead, has given the hearing officer discretion on whether the parties should be filing briefs.
In addition to the GC’s memo, the NLRB has also issued a set of FAQs regarding the new election procedures.
Overall, these changes are certainly bad for employers. The U.S. Chamber has lodged a legal challenge to the new representation election procedures, but has not yet received a ruling from the court.