As if mid-April’s tax filing deadline wasn’t already enough of a downer, the NLRB has given employers the dreaded one-two punch, as its new union “ambush” election rules have now officially gone into effect.
Although hailed by the Democrat members of the NLRB who championed them as modest changes intended to streamline the process of union representation elections, the employer and business communities see the rules quite differently, instead viewing them as purely results-oriented and designed to facilitate organized labor’s interest in conducting a union election as fast as possible (so that the passage of time doesn’t result in a reduction of union support by employees), at the expense of important employer due process and free speech rights.
We’ve extensively covered both the procedural and substantive aspects of the new rules in prior posts – here, here, here, and here – as well as the lawsuits filed in two federal courts challenging the rules. Those lawsuits remain pending. It’s possible that a ruling will come in the near future that could impact on the continuing validity of the rules (oral argument in one of the cases is scheduled for later this month). Moreover, it is entirely possible, if not likely, that once a union election petition is filed and processed under the new rules, an “as applied” challenge to the rules will be filed in court. In the meantime, and until a court says otherwise, employers must comply with the new rules.