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Employment Blog

A Quick Fix to the Quickie Election Rules?

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich
Posted on February 13, 2015
Filed under Employment

The United States Chamber of Commerce and several trade associations have filed a motion for summary judgment in a federal court in Washington D.C. seeking to overturn the “quickie election” rules recently adopted by the National Labor Relations Board. These rules are scheduled to go into effect on April 14 and are designed to create a very expedited process for holding an election to determine whether employees of a particular company wish to be represented by a union. 

The NLRB adopted these rules in December and a federal lawsuit has been filed seeking to vacate the rule by arguing that it is inconsistent with the legal requirements of the National Labor Relations Act. The arguments focus on the rule being allegedly over-broad and interfering with the free speech and due process rights of an employer. Unfortunately, the National Labor Relations Board has asked for more time to file an answer to the complaint and a response to the summary judgment motion. It is still unclear whether the April 14 effective date will actually be implemented.

Employers must watch this litigation very closely. If the “quickie election” rules are allowed to take effect, employers will be subject to election petitions from unions seeking to represent employees and the employer will have little time to respond to such a petition or even be able to effectively argue that certain employees listed in the petition should not be allowed to vote because of their supervisory status. The United States Chamber of Commerce argued that the process being proposed under this rule resembles legislative proposals that were rejected by Congress in 1947 and 1959. The Chamber also argued that the premise behind the rule for a quick election was contrary to the legislative history of the National Labor Relations Act which indicated that Congress felt there should be a period of at least 30-days between the petition and the election in order to ensure that employees are adequately informed before they are called upon to vote. 

Even though this legal challenge is being pursued, companies should consider having non-union information and materials ready to go if a union election petition is filed. Companies should also recognize the potential for employee dissatisfaction in the workplace and work hard to address any concerns before they rise to the level of causing a union election petition to be filed.