The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today adopted a final rule that would alleviate the delays, inefficiencies, abuse of process and unnecessary litigation that plague the current system for workers who want to vote on whether to have a union. It will take effect on April 14. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
The modest but important reforms to the representation election process announced today by the National Labor Relations Board will help reduce delay in the process and make it easier for workers to vote on forming a union in a timely manner. Too often, lengthy and unnecessary litigation over minor issues bogs down the election process and prevents workers from getting the vote they want. We commend the NLRB's efforts to streamline the process and reduce unnecessary delay.
NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce said the amendments to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) would modernize the representation case process and “fulfill the promise” of the NLRA. He also said:
Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.
The new rule:
- provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;
- ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;
- eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;
- adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;
- requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting all parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and
- allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the board into a single appeals process.
Strengthening protections for workers seeking to come together and bargain collectively is critical to workers winning much-deserved wage gains and improving their lives.
A similar election rule was issued in 2011 and was due to go into effect in April 2012. But the business community successfully argued that the board lacked a quorum when it issued the rule, which blocked its implementation.