In 2011, the National Labor Relations Board issued a rule which would have allowed for so-called “quickie” union elections. Under current rules, the time between the filing of a petition for a union election and the election itself is generally over a month, at times even longer. Under the “quickie” rule, union elections could take place within a few weeks, putting unprepared employers at a significant disadvantage.
In 2012, the “quickie” rule was dealt a blow by a federal judge who found that the NLRB’s lack of a quorum at the time prohibited the rule from taking effect. Late last year, the NLRB decided not to seek further review of that decision.
It was no secret why the NLRB backed down: by last year, it had five Senate-approved members, which gave it a quorum and the ability to issue the rule again. Today, it did just that. The Board issued a press release stating that the “quickie” election rule would be issued on February 6, 2014 and would be identical in substance to the 2011 rule.
This is bad news for employers, as the procedural mishaps which hampered the 2011 rule have been addressed and no longer exist. In all likelihood, the rule will take effect in 2014.
What should employers do to prepare? Employers need to ensure that supervisors know what to do when confronted with talk by employees about union activity. The single best way to accomplish that is by conducting preventative labor relations training with supervisors so that they know the telltale signs of union activity and the best practices for confronting it.