The Ambush Rules
On April 14, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) new union election rules took effect with unions all over the nation capitalizing on the opportunity to utilize the “streamlined” process to file petitions for elections. Dubbed the “Ambush Rules,” the new process has additional requirements for employers, substantially increasing the authority of the Board of Regional Directors while reducing oversight of the elections process. The new union election rules will reduce the election timeline from 40 days on average to 21 days or fewer. Needless to say, many employers have concerns about what kind of impact this will have on their ability to stay union free and from recent evidence, this concern may be well founded.
An Increase in Petitions Received
Following the enactment of the new rules, the NLRB saw a considerable increase in the number of petitions for union elections they received. From April 14, 2015, the enactment date of the rules, to May 14, 2015 the NLRB reports a 31 percent increase from the month prior. Additionally, 71 percent more petitions were filed on April 15, 2015 than were received during that same time a year prior.
Steps for Employers
Employers should be aware of the new NLRB union election rules if they aren’t already. A first step would therefore be to familiarize yourself with the changes implemented through the enactment of these new rules. In particular, the shortened timeline for elections and the Statement of Position required from the employer should be noted. Employers are also encouraged to utilize the Labor Relations Readiness System’s six critical disciplines: (1) plan ahead, (2) labor relations training and education; (3) vulnerability assessments; (4) enhance existing communications; (5) engage employees in the business; and (6) leadership training and development. The new “Ambush Rules” along with a the rediness system and other tips for employers who want to remain union free in this new environment were examined in a special 90-minute SHLC webinar on February 25, 2015 with guest speaker Jim Trivisonno of IRI Consultants. Recordings of the presentation along with the written materials may be ordered by contacting any SHLC office and a brief summary of some of the highlights from that webinar are discussed on the SHLC Blog Update dated February 27, 2015 on our firm website.