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Friday, May 29, 2015

Union Activity Surges After Ambush Election Rule

By: Tommy Eden

It has been reported by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that in the month immediately following the April 14 effective date of its Ambush Election rule that it was taking an average of only 23 days to reach an election.

From March 13 to April 13, there were 212 petitions for an election filed with the NLRB, while the period from April 14 to May 14 saw 280 filings, a 32 percent rise. The median time from petition to election for all representation elections held since April 14 was 23 days, rather than the previous 38 days.
The NLRB has claimed the makeover of the representation elections rule will modernize and streamline the board's representation case process by shortening the time between a union petition and election. This gives employers' little time to make their case to workers after card signing begins.
Most believe that shortening the election timeframe gives unions an unfair leg up. This is the  new reality employer must live with. Having quicker elections was the whole purpose behind the union’s push for the rule. The NLRB intended to make organizing easier at the expense of a full and free workplace debate.

The rule also puts off employer challenges to voter eligibility issues until after an election is held. In the past there was a 25-day delay that normally occurred between the time a regional director directs an election and the actual election.

The new Ambush rule also requires employers to identify disputed issues in a position statement and to add to the list of voter-workers the employer has to submit to the union to now include phone numbers and email addresses, as opposed to just names and addresses.

Common Sense Counsel: unions have prepared for this and they are going to be aggressive. 7 Steps your Company should take ASAP to stay Union free:
1) Let your employees know how you feel about a union in your employee handbook;
2) Don't be afraid to send a letter home to employees reiterating your position;
3) Check your no solicitation, no distribution, social networking, internet usage policies  for legal compliance and property signage;
4) Train your supervisor on appropriate and legal union avoidance steps (TIPS) within the law and conduct a mock union election with top management;
5) Train your managers and supervisors to be good coaches by showing appreciation for the hard work of employees, involving them in decisions and helping to promote their career path;
6) Survey your employees on what you can do better with regards to safety, working conditions, communication etc – then do it.; and
7) Take affirmative steps to reduce the risk of harassment, favoritism, bullying, retaliation and anything else that would hinder a respectful working environment.

Union campaigns are like the Rapture, when that “Day” comes you will not have time to get ready so you better stay ready.

Tommy Eden is a partner working out of the Constangy, Smith & Prophete, LLP offices in Opelika, AL and West Point, GA and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 334-246-2901. Blog at and follow on twitter tommyeden3