Last week, a federal district court granted summary judgment to the AFL-CIO in response to its challenge to new National Labor Relations Board regulations intended to slow the process for unionization elections. The rules were slated to take effect May 31, and this decision places them on hold unless the NLRB successfully appeals the district court decision.
The regulations follow rules put into place in 2014 during the Obama administration. These earlier regulations shortened the time periods between certification and the actual election. They also limited pre-election legal challenges, thereby narrowing the grounds for delaying the vote. Last year, the NLRB announced changes to these rules that would somewhat extend the election timeline and allow certain pre-election legal challenges.
The NLRB characterized the 2019 changes as procedural rather than substantive in nature, and therefore it did not allow notice and comment. In a new ruling, the district court judge disagreed, holding that the new election rules violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act. A few of the new regulations that were conceded as purely procedural in nature will be allowed to take effect. The NLRB has the choice of either appealing the district court’s decision or reconsidering its earlier proposal. For the time being, the major changes to union election rules put into place in 2014 remain in effect.