Private-Sector Unions Show No Meaningful Gain Despite Implementation of Quickie Election Rules

December 9, 2015

The “quickie election” rules promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board have been in effect since April 14, 2015.  Thus far, predictions have come true as the time it takes to file a union petition to the time of the election has been dramatically shortened.  On the other hand, the number of petitions filed for union representation during the first six months of “quickie elections” has hardly risen and the number of union wins during this same period has remained relatively flat compared to the same time period a year ago.

For the six-month period running from April 14 to October 13 of 2015, the number of days between the filing of a petition for an election and the date that election was held has been 23, compared to 38 in that same time period in 2014.  This equates to a 39.48% reduction in the median number of days from the time of filing of a union certification petition to the election.  This is a big change in the culture of private-sector elections as employers under these new rules now have much less time to prepare for or conduct an effective campaign and argue against unionization. 

Union-side supporters of the new election rules claim that reduction in days simply streamlines the process.  Employers, on the other hand, point out that these rules give a significant advantage to unions who have been planning their organization efforts for many months or more.  However, there has only been a slight rise in representation certification petitions and a small increase in union election wins.  This shows there has been no meaningful union gain for the six months following the implementation of the “quickie election” rules.  For the six month period April 14 to October 13 of 2015, there were 1,158 union petitions filed compared to 1,092 the same time period the year before.  Further, the percentage of union wins was flat with a 1 percent increase to 65 percent in 2015. 

This may be somewhat of a “silver lining” for employers.  Nevertheless, employers still need to be ready for election organization efforts and be able to react quickly due to the now accelerated union organizing process.

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