Friday the 13th is Not So Ominous After All – NLRB Issues Employer-Friendly Changes to Union Election Rules

By: Attorney Bryan T. Symes – Weld Riley, S.C.

Last Friday [yes, that Friday—you know, the 13th] the National Labor Relations Board updated its union election rules, generally making life easier for employers faced with election petitions.  Through the new, more employer-friendly election rules, the NLRB attempts to level the playing field in the aftermath of the Obama-era “quickie election” rules.   The rule changes cultivate increased fairness by creating: (1) additional time for non-petitioning employers to respond to election campaigns; and (2) additional opportunities for non-petitioning employers to contest proposed unit composition and voter eligibility issues before elections take place.  The updated rules can be mined here: Updated Election Rules.   However, for those readers who do not have the time, or the stomach, to parse the 302-page “final rule” document, here are the most noteworthy changes:

  1. Pre-election hearings will generally be scheduled to open 14 business days from the notice of hearing, instead of the 8 calendar days under the current rules. This change will provide more time to adequately prepare for pre-election hearings and will facilitate more time for employers to prepare and submit Statements of Position.
  2. Employers will now have 5 business days to post and distribute the notice of petition for election, instead of the 2 business days under the current rules. Again, more time for employers means a fairer process and more time to adequately react to election petitions.
  3. Employers will now be afforded 8 business days after service of notices of hearing to file and serve Statements of Position—an improvement over the 7 calendar days under the current rules.
  4. Disputes about unit scope and voter eligibility will now normally be litigated at the pre-election hearing, instead of after the election.  
  5. The typical time frame between direction of election and election will now be 25 to 30 days—as opposed to the current, more nebulous, “earliest date practicable” standard.   This change facilitates increased predictability, and affords additional time to react to election petitions.
  6. Employers will have 5 business days to furnish Excelsior Lists (voter lists, containing required voter data)—instead of 2 business days under the current paradigm.  

The final rules, including those summarized above, will be published on December 18, 2019, and will become effective 120 days later.     I guess Friday the 13th is not so ominous after all.  

The labor-relations attorneys at Weld Riley will be monitoring the impact of these changes closely.   More to come!