We’ve known this was coming for a while, though Republicans made a valiant, but ultimately doomed effort to stop it. The National Labor Relations Board, under the direction of Barack Obama, has succeeded in putting new rules in place which will allow quickie union elections at private businesses before management even has time to make their case.
An Obama administration rule that speeds up the process by which employees can unionize will take effect Tuesday after Republicans last month failed to block the measure.
Under the new National Labor Relations Board rules, employees could potentially organize a union in less than two weeks, compared to the previous average of 38 days between the time a petition is filed and the election is held.
Labor groups say this will prevent management from needlessly delaying union elections. But Republicans and business groups contend it will not give companies enough time to prepare for union elections.
“These rules are similar to the ‘hurry-up offense,’ where one side hopes to catch the other off-guard with misdirection and a hurried pace,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation. “In this case, employers will be put on constant defense and always placed at a disadvantage.”
As we’ve discussed before, these new rules do a lot more than just allow for rapid fire elections. They remove many avenues which previously allowed employers more time to prepare and make their case with their employees. Even more disturbing, the revised rules force employers to release the private contact information of workers – including home address, cell phone numbers and email – to union reps as soon as a petition to hold an election is filed. The NLRB chief issued a new memo of compliance on the subject last week.
General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. issued a guidance memo on modifications to the representation case procedures that will take effect on April 14th. Specifically, the memo fully outlines how new representation cases will be processed from petition filing through certification.
“I am confident that the guidance provided herein will allow regions to implement the final rule effectively and efficiently,” wrote General Counsel Griffin. “I am also confident that the dedication and professionalism consistently demonstrated by the personnel in the Agency’s field offices will be exhibited in the implementation of the Board’s new representation procedures.”
When you read the details of the 36 page memo you find that it’s essentially one big gift package to the unions who fund Democrats’ election campaigns. The section on demanding the private information of employees is almost chilling in its cool, SKYNET style mandate.
The employer must provide the regional director and parties named in the decision an alphabetized list of the full names, work locations, shifts, job classifications, and contact information (including home addresses, available personal email addresses, and available home and personal cell telephone numbers) of all eligible voters, accompanied by a certificate of service on all parties. The employer must also include in a separate section of that list the same information for those individuals who, according to the election agreement or direction of election, will be permitted to vote subject to challenge. When feasible, the employer must electronically file the list with the regional director and electronically serve the list on the other parties.
There is currently a court challenge to the new rules, but it’s hard to muster too much optimism over it. Union matters don’t always gain a lot of traction with the courts, frequently being left to the discretion of the executive branch unless they are egregious enough to create a class of persons who can demonstrate damages and standing to challenge the decree. If that effort fails, there’s really not much to be done until there’s a new President in the Oval Office who can appoint some sane people at the NLRB.