NLRB takes aim at ‘quickie election’ rule

The National Labor Relations Board has launched a formal bid to overturn a 2014 rule that sped up the election process required to certify union representation of a workforce.

An announcement published Dec. 14 invites the public to comment on whether the NLRB’s “quickie election” rule should be retained, changed or scrapped altogether.

The 2014 election rule reduced the time between initial filing of a union election petition and actual voting by workers to determine if they want union representation. The rule requires NLRB regional directors to schedule elections “at the earliest date practicable” after a petition is filed.

In the past, that process took about 38 days. The 2014 rule theoretically shortened that to as few as 13 days. In reality, it now takes 24 days, according to an NLRB analysis of union representation cases in the year following the election rule’s enactment in April 2015.

The NLRB is seeking public input on three questions:

1. Should the 2014 election rule be retained without change?

2. Should it be retained but modified? If so, how?

3. Should the 2014 election rule be rescinded? If so, should the NLRB revert to the previous election rules or come up with an entirely new scheme?

Critics of the 2014 rule say the faster election cycle stacks the deck against employers that want their workplaces to remain union-free because it provides little time to persuade employees to vote against union representation.

The 2014 rule appeared to have little impact on union election outcomes. The NLRB found that workers voted for union representation 66% of the time in elections held between May 2015 and May 2016, compared to 65% in the year before the rule took effect.

Learn more about the Request for Information at www.nlrb.gov/reports-guidance/public-notices/request-information. The deadline for sending comments to the NLRB is Feb. 12, 2018.