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NLRB Developments

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On Aug. 22, SHRM submitted comprehensive comments to the National Labor Relations Board in response to a proposed regulation that has earned the nickname "quick election," due to changes it would make to the process governing union representation elections. 

SHRM’s comments were filed by the law firm of Jones Day and joined by the HR Policy Association, along with 32 SHRM chapters and 18 state councils. While still a proposal, the measure is expected by many to be finalized by the Board before the end of 2011. 

Briefly, the NLRB proposes the following changes to the union election process:

  • Shorten the timeframe between the certification and the election. Because a union can prepare its entire unionization campaign before making it public, shortening the time between filing and the election creates an added disadvantage for employers. Unless employers have adequate time to prepare educational materials, employees will not have full information about the pros and cons of unionization.
  • Change requirements for the Statement of Position. The proposal requires employers to disclose their entire case theory in this document. Employers would be precluded from presenting evidence on any issue that they failed to include in the Statement.
  • Mandate disclosure of employee information. Employers would be required to turn over private employee information to the Board and the petitioning party, including employee telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

In response, SHRM presented the following concerns to the proposed changes:

  • The Board failed to show a need for such dramatic rule changes. In fact, under current rules, the NLRB consistently meets or exceeds its own timeline goals for case processing.
  • The Board failed to seek input from stakeholders before issuing the proposed rule.
  • The proposal raises various due process questions for employers and employees, thus increasing the potential for litigation.
  • The Board should withdraw the proposal. If it is reconsidered, the Board should collect input prior to rule drafting.

The proposal, along with another recently announced by the Dept. of Labor involving "persuader activity," has prompted concern by many SHRM members. As a result, SHRM has launched a robust and comprehensive member advocacy effort related to these issues.

Local members of the SHRM Advocacy Team are meeting with their congressional delegations between now and Labor Day to discuss their concerns with the two proposals. SHRM members will be able to file comments on the DOL proposal prior to Sept. 21. 

A copy of SHRM’s comments to the NLRB about its "quick election" proposal is available HERE. Chapters and state councils that were signatories to SHRM’s filing are listed in footnote 1 on page 2 of the filing.

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