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Washington Update

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On Tuesday, April 24, the U.S. Senate rejected by a 45-54 vote a SHRM-supported measure (Senate Joint Resolution 36) to block a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule to speed up labor union representation elections. With any chance of success for a legislative response to the “quick election” rule now exhausted, the rule became effective on April 30, and it applies to election petitions filed on or after that date.

As the world’s largest professional association for human resource professionals, SHRM supports a balanced approach to labor-management relations. However, it is the Society’s belief that the NLRB rule, which artificially speeds up the union election process, unnecessarily tips that balance in favor of organized labor. Throughout this regulatory effort, SHRM has maintained that current law provides an adequate time period that allows employees a chance to gather the information they need to make an informed choice on whether union representation is a good choice for them. In its Fiscal Year 2011 annual report, the NLRB revealed that the median time from a representation petition to an election was 38 days last year, and that over 91 percent of all elections were conducted within 56 days of the filing of the petition.

While the Senate’s action scuttled legislative efforts to block the NLRB election rule, federal court challenges against the rule are pending. The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which SHRM is a member, is challenging the NLRB election rule in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. SHRM has also submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case challenging the rule as well, a copy of which is available HERE.

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