NLRB Proposed Union Election Rule: What it breaks down to…

By Richard Negri

Anyone who has ever been part of an NLRB union organizing drive will tell you, it is not as easy and swift as most would think. Sure, folks know it is our legal right to organize a union if we choose to, but what they might not be aware of is how insanely long it frequently takes to get the union recognized by the employer.

Why is that?

As a simple matter-of-fact, our labor laws are outdated and badly in need of reform. As it stands now, employers can hold up voting through legal filings and appeals — many of which are useless but, by law, need to be reviewed by the NLRB and sometimes the courts. Likewise, unions can of course make filings during the same period, but most choose not to until the elections are done because of the “hold up” these filings create or specifically request that the filings not delay voting.

So, when the NLRB announced this week that it proposed rules to reform pre- and post-election representation case procedures, working people around the country took a deep breath …

“In just the first six months of this year, we have witnessed unprecedented assaults on workers’ rights in states across the country. Now, the NLRB is taking a positive step for workers who want to exercise their fundamental right to decide for themselves whether to form a union,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. “It’s time to restore some measure of balance and fairness to the system, starting with making sure workers have the right to vote whether to form a union without unnecessary delays.”

Some of the specific changes, if adopted, would include:

  • Allow for electronic filing of election petitions and other documents.
  • Ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process.
  • Standardize timeframes for the scheduling of the hearing for parties to resolve or litigate issues.
  • Require parties to identify issues and describe evidence soon after an election petition is filed to facilitate resolution and eliminate unnecessary litigation.
  • Defer litigation of most voter eligibility issues until after the election.
  • Require employers to provide a final voter list in electronic form soon after the scheduling of an election, including voters’ telephone numbers and email addresses when available.
  • Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process and thereby eliminate delay in holding elections currently attributable to the possibility of pre-election appeals.
  • Make Board review of post-election decisions discretionary rather than mandatory.

What Are Corporations Afraid Of?

The stink war, as expected, is now in full swing. The Board (and all workers supporting its proposed rule change) is under attack by the same corporate interests who wrecked our economy while profiting mightily at the cost of millions of American jobs.

They’re back at the anti-union anti-worker rhetoric from past campaigns. Instead of engaging with them all the time, we need to consider engaging more so with the NLRB. We need to get our voices heard by the Board, to make sure they know that workers around the country appreciate their efforts in leveling an unfair playing field for us.

We can do that now by signing this “thank you” petition.

We will be delivering package after package of signed petitions to the Board as this process continues. You will see on the petition that you have a space to write in with your own experiences or thoughts about labor law and its need for reform.

Added Material:

NLRB Proposed Rule Change: A Positive Step Forward
Labor Law Basics: What We Need to Know Now
Press Release: SEIU: NLRB Rule a Positive Step for Workers

Ricard Negri is an on-line organizer for the SEIU. This story originally appeared on the SEIU website NLRB Proposed Union Election Rule: What it breaks down to…

One Response

  1. […] regulations currently under review (and strongly advocated by SEIU, as Richard Negri’s article on Talking Union describes), to the conduct of a new election at Kaiser […]

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