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.

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