This week, the National Labor Relations Board continued its reversal of Trump-era decisions. The NLRB issued a final rule expediting union election procedures, making it more difficult for employers to react and respond to organizing efforts. The new rules discard those implemented in 2019, and return the “quickie election” procedures first put in place during the Obama administration. These regulations prevent employers from stopping or delaying elections based on most challenges to the union vote procedures. Those challenges will only be heard after the election has taken place, requiring a higher legal burden to reverse those votes.
The new rules also broaden the circumstances where a union can achieve recognition without an employee vote. If a majority of the proposed bargaining unit petitions for union status, the employer must promptly request an election to avoid automatic recognition of the union. If the employer commits unfair labor practices after requesting the vote, the NLRB will discard the vote and require the employer to bargain with the union.
These changes will require employers to quickly react to unionization efforts. The company cannot simply wait until a union petition is filed before beginning its efforts to educate the workforce and explain its position regarding unionization. Employers need to closely monitor potential union activity at their facilities. They should also have in place a plan to promptly respond once the union petition is presented.
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