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NLRB’s ‘ambush’ election rules take effect

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

If you don’t have a plan in place to respond to a union organizing campaign, now’s a time to draft one.

On April 14, controversial new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules took effect, dramatically speeding up the time between initial filing of a union election petition and actual balloting.

In the past, that generally took more than a month. Now it can happen in as few as 13 days.

Critics say that's harsh on employers because it provides little time to persuade employees to vote against union representation.

Fresh guidance from the NLRB’s general counsel (read it at seem to confirm that the “ambush” election rules will be just as bad as many employers feared.

“The new rules allow unions to move much more quickly in organizing campaigns, and shorten employer timelines for responding to those campaigns,” according to labor-relations attorney Matthew Lewis of the Sheppard Mullin law firm.

“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 a statement from the National Retail Federation (NRF), one of dozens of business groups that oppose the NLRB rules.

Earlier this year, Congress voted to block the rules, but President Obama vetoed that bill on April 1.

A lawsuit filed by NRF, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and other groups to prevent the election rules from taking effect is pending in federal court. A SHRM statement said the rules “fundamentally and improperly alters the existing election process.”

“An employee should be able to hear from both the union and the employer,” said Mike Aitken, SHRM’s vice president of government affairs.

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