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January 12, 2015

MSCI, Coalition For A Democratic Workplace Launch Lawsuit Against NLRB’s Ambush Elections Rule

Last week, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), which includes MSCI, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and dozens of other organizations, filed a lawsuit in the federal district court in Washington, D.C. challenging the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ambush elections rule that was issued in mid-December. 

In a press statement, CDW’s Josh Ulman noted, “For nearly 70 years, the NLRB’s election procedures have ensured employees have reasonable time to gather the facts before they cast a ballot for or against union representation” and argued “The NLRB’s rule abandons over a half century of successful elections to put the demands of politically powerful unions ahead of employees’ rights to make informed choices and employers’ rights to due process and free speech” and “was designed to reduce, rather than increase, information for employees and entirely contradicts the spirit behind the President’s promise to have the most transparent administration in history.”  

As Connecting the Dots has explained previously, the ambush elections rule will dramatically change union representation elections in the workplace by shortening the election process to as few as 14 days from the current median time of 38 days. It will also deprive employers of due process. The shortened time frame effectively restricts communication between employers and employees prior to a union election, leaving employees without access to important information they need in order to vote. According to CDW, the rule:

  • Requires that all pre-election hearings be set to begin within eight days after a hearing notice is issued.
  • Mandates that employers file a “Statement of Position” by noon on the day before the hearing begins. The Statement of Position must include a list of prospective voters with their names, job classifications, work shifts, and work locations. 
  • Provides regional directors with discretion to limit the scope of pre-election hearings, by excluding evidence on voter eligibility and delaying the resolution of those issues until after the election.
  • Requires an employer to provide, within two business days of the election agreement or decision directing an election, employee personal telephone numbers and personal email addresses.

While this litigation moves forward, MSCI recommends its members prepare for its implementation in April. Read National Law Review’s summary of what you can do here.