March 29, 2015

National Labor Relations Board Rulings Will Affect You – Find Out How!

Unless U.S. courts act to stop it, on April 14, 2015 the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “ambush elections” rule will take effect. (As Connecting the Dots has reported, both houses of Congress recently voted for legislation that would stop the rule, but President Barack Obama is expected to veto that legislation and it’s unlikely House and Senate leaders have the votes to override that veto.) 

According to Inside Counsel, “The NLRB’s latest change to policy will force a change in the way employers think about unionization.” Indeed, it should. Inside Counsel and the National Association of Manufacturers say this rule would:

  • Overturn more than 75 years of settled labor policy;
  • Mandate that pre-election hearings take place within seven days of a petition to unionize;
  • Shorten (to as few as 13) the number of days between filing and a union election, which “will create difficulties for employers who are not prepared for swift organizational attacks”;
  • Infringe on employee privacy since employers would have to – within two days of an election agreement – provide home addresses and telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, work locations, shifts and job classifications of all employees deemed eligible to vote;
  • Rob employees of the ability to gather the facts they need to make an important and informed decision about whether or not to join a union; and
  • Lead to a huge spike in filings for union elections.

MSCI encourages its members to read the NRLB’s fact sheet outlining the changes required by this rule. The NLRB is also conducting training sessions in advance of this rule taking affect. A detailed Power Point presentation from those sessions is available here

Inside Counsel argues these changes will require employers “to be more alert in regards to having adequate labor counsel and being prepared for these pending changes to unionization policy.” The journal recommended that employers “train supervisors to deal with issues regarding organization-based attacks, and they should treat the changes as if they have a plan just like any other required plan in the face of an emergency.” 

The NLRB’s activist agenda goes well beyond the “ambush elections” rule. Two weeks ago, NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin issued a Report Concerning Employer Rules, which outlines how common employee handbook rules may violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). According to Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law firm, the report is “overly broad” and, as a result, could “have potentially far-reaching effects.” As such, Littler encourages employers to “pay careful attention to this new guidance.” MSCI urges its members to read Littler’s full analysis of the NLRB’s report here.