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NLRB Implements New Ambush Election Rules

On December 12, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") finalized its new "ambush election" rules, which go into effect on April 14, 2015.  The rules significantly alter the way that union representation elections are conducted.  Generally, employers can now expect an expedited process for conducting and contesting union elections.

Here are the most significant changes:
(1)    Expedited Union Elections
Due to various changes, representation elections may now take place ten to twenty-one days after a petition has been filed.  Again, this compressed time frame is due to numerous changes.  One of these changes is that the NLRB has eliminated the automatic stay of the election.  Previously, elections would be delayed 25-30 days to allow the NLRB to consider any request for review of the Regional Director's pre-election decision.  This delay will no longer occur.

(2)    Expedited Pre-Election Hearings
Pre-election hearings will now be held a maximum of eight days after notice of the hearing is served.  Employers must submit their position statement one day before the hearing.  This means that employers will only have seven days to gather information and draft a position statement.

(3)    Expedited Turnover of Employee Contact Information
Within two days after the bargaining unit is determined, the employer must electronically provide a list of each employee and their home address, telephone number, and e-mail address.  Previously, the employer had seven days to provide only the employee names and home addresses.

(4)    Deferral of Voter Eligibility Issues
Under the new rules, the parties may only litigate in the pre-election hearing those issues that are necessary to determine whether it is appropriate to conduct an election.  Litigation of a small number of eligibility and inclusion issues that do not have to be decided before the election may be deferred to the post-election stage.  However, these issues may ultimately not be litigated if they will have no impact on the election results.

As you can see, the NLRB has taken numerous steps to ensure that union representation elections occur as soon as possible.  This means that employers must be ready to respond immediately to any petition.  To determine how to respond to a petition or to discuss representation elections in general, contact a member of MacDonald Illig's Labor and Employment Practice Group.