On Monday, a federal District Court in Washington held that the National Labor Relations Board's new rules calling for quicker unionization regulations are invalid because they were adopted without a required quorum of NLRB members present. A number of business groups challenged the regulations on both procedural and substantive grounds. The District Court agreed with the procedural challenge based on the quorum issue, and declined to comment on the other legal challenges to the rules.
This decision gives the NLRB two options. It can appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, or seek to fix the procedural issue by holding another vote on the rules. Supporters of the new rules hold a majority of NLRB seats, but several are subject to additional legal challenge because they were recess appointments by President Obama during a period that some claim the Senate was still in session.
The NLRB Chair already indicated his intent to schedule a new vote on the rules. He indicated that the NLRB may make some changes, presumably intended to deal with some of the substantive objections to the regulations. In the meantime, the NLRB announced that it will suspend enforcement of the new rules, which became effective last month.
Whether the District Court decision is appealed or made moot through a new NLRB vote, business groups are certain to legally challenge any attempt by the Board to reduce their time to oppose union elections, or to limit their ability to legally challenge the proposed bargaining unit.