Nationally, union membership has been rapidly declining since its peak in the early 1980s. Last year, organized labor was unsuccessful in convincing Congress to pass legislation doing away with secret ballot elections and making unionization of workplaces easier. Since that time, unions have shifted their focus to convincing a pro-labor National Labor Relations Board for election rules more favorable to organized labor and making it easier to unionize employers. It looks like the unions’ change in strategy has borne fruit. On Monday, June 20, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board announced proposed new rules, which, if adopted, would radically change the landscape when it comes to union elections.
Currently, once a union has obtained enough employee signatures to call for an election, there is a 45- to 60-day period before employee voting occurs to determine whether the workplace will be unionized. This “campaign period” is the best opportunity for an employer to tell its side of the story and to explain to its employees the disadvantages of collective bargaining and unionization. Tactically, unions have always believed that, if they could shorten the campaign time period before an election is held, the union’s chances of winning elections will dramatically increase. Apparently, organized labor has found sympathetic ears at the National Labor Relations Board.
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