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The NLRB Ambush Rule

January 8, 2015

On December 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule amending the agency’s representation election process. While the expressed intent is to “simplify representation-case procedures, codify best practices, and make them more transparent and uniform across regions”; it primarily reduces the amount of time a group has to respond to an election petition in order to preserve their rights to contest a union election.

If upheld, these changes are expected to make it more difficult for employers to address employee concerns when confronted with a union campaign and will ultimately have a major impact on the union environment.

Some of the major provisions of the final rule include expedited pre-election hearings, obligatory pre-election position statement, post-election declaration of voter eligibility and enclosure issues, removal of post-hearing briefs, and requirement for elections to be set for the earliest practicable date.

The most significant effect of the new rule is that now the union representation election will be within 10-21 days after a petition has been filed. Historically union campaigns have occurred over a six to seven week time frame; however the new rule now makes it an extremely condensed time period. Opponents of the new rule stress that accelerating the election period greatly deprives employees of the chance to obtain essential information before voting.

The rule will become effective on April 14, 2015 though it is likely that there will be challengers before then. Further Details on NLRB Ambush Election Rule can be found here.