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NLRB final rule accelerates union elections

December 23, 2011
by Patricia Sheehan
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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday passed a final rule on union elections that provider groups contend will shorten the time employees may learn about union membership before an election, grant the NLRB and its hearing officers latitude to decide election issues, and limit an employer’s ability to appeal initial election hearing findings.

The rule, championed by unions, becomes effective April 30, 2012, barring judicial action.

“This rule is about giving all employees who have petitioned for an election the right to vote in a timely manner and without the impediment of needless litigation,” said NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce.

In opposition to the rule, Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) President Richard P. Grimes stated, “A fair elections process that unions, businesses and employees have agreed works the vast majority of the time has been unnecessarily altered to benefit union organizers. With this rule, the labor board continues to enable unions to organize workplaces at the expense of employee and employer rights.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace have filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the rule.

“ALFA supports efforts questioning recent NLRB rulemaking,” said Grimes. “Employees have the right to vote against or for union representation. However, employees also have a right to understand why their employer might object and what the consequences and costs may be so they can weigh the facts. The new rule creates a ‘quickie’ election process that precludes this from happening.”

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