NLRB Rule to Speed Union Votes

New Labor Board regulation simplifies procedures and shortens deadline for balloting.

The National Labor Relations Board issued a rule that will lead to speedier U.S. union elections, a measure fought by business groups and Republicans.

The regulation, which will take effect April 30, will simplify union-election procedures and shorten the deadline for balloting after employees request a vote. The board, which resolves disputes between labor and management, adopted the change in a 2-1 vote.

“This rule is about giving all employees who have petitioned for an election the right to vote in a timely manner and without the impediment of needless litigation,” NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce said today in an e-mailed statement.

Republicans in the U.S. House and business groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers have said the labor board has created “ambush elections.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it sued the board to block the rule. The U.S. House on Dec. 1 passed legislation curbing the powers of the agency on the union-vote rule.

“It will still deny access to a fair election process, limit employer free speech, and restrict worker free choice,” Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican and chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said in a statement. The board is “determined to advance an activist, pro-union agenda at any cost,” he said.

The board’s actions will cut off free speech and the ability of employers to educate workers before a vote, Randy Johnson, vice president for labor policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. With 95 percent of balloting held within two months and unions winning in two-thirds of contests, the rule aids unions rather than workers, he said.

“This rule has no conceivable purpose but to make it easier for unions to win elections,” Johnson said.

Labor leaders have said the change won’t do much to help unions as representation among private companies fell to a record low 6.9 percent last year.



Bloomberg News

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