NLRB To Accelerate Union Elections

The National Labor Relations Board is proposing new regulations to accelerate the pace of union organizing elections. As the Washington Post reports:

The board is proposing to streamline a union election process that currently has workers vote within 45-60 days after a union gathers enough signatures to file a petition, a time many companies use to discourage workers from unionizing.

The new plan could cut that time by days or even weeks — depending on the case — by simplifying procedures, deferring litigation, allowing electronic filing of petitions and other documents and setting shorter deadlines for hearings and filings. . . .

It would:

— Allow electronic filing of petitions and other documents to speed up processing.

— Set pre-election hearings to begin 7 days after a petition is filed.

— Defer litigation of eligibility issues involving less than 20 percent of the bargaining unit until after the election.

— Eliminate pre-election appeals of rulings by an NLRB regional director.

— Reduce from 7 to 2 days the time for an employer to provide an electronic list of eligible voters.

The Board split 3-1 along ideological lines over this proposal, which earned cheers from unions and jeers from business groups.

Meanwhile, the NLRB’s case against Boeing is drawing criticism from the Washington Post editorial page and Secretary of Commerce nominee John Bryson, Ceo of Edison International. who until recently served on Boeing’s board. From the Post editorial:

The allegation that the company “transferred” jobs out of state is unconvincing because the jobs in South Carolina are new. The company has not cut jobs in Washington, nor has it demoted or slashed the wages of union workers. Boeing has added about 3,000 — albeit temporary — jobs in Washington since it announced its South Carolina plans and says it is likely to add more to keep up with demand for its commercial airliners.

Employers who engage in unfair labor practices should be penalized. But the NLRB’s move goes too far and would undermine a company’s ability to consider all legitimate factors — including potential work disruptions — when making plans. It also substitutes the government’s judgment for that of the company. This is neither good law nor good business.