Preparing for the NLRB's Proposed Changes To Union Election Rules

By: Robert T. Quackenboss On November 30, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will vote on sweeping proposed changes to the rules by which it conducts union representation elections.  The proposed changes fall broadly into three categories: (1...


Given the provisions calling for a shortened election process in general, this proposed rule is likely to result in employers unintentionally conceding important issues. It will put many employers at a marked disadvantage. Employers can best prepare for such new rules by introducing labor counsel to their workforce and management structure before organizing activity begins. This will allow labor counsel to familiarize itself with the various organizing scenarios, map hypothetical response plans for the most likely scenarios, and save valuable time when the organizing movement actually begins.  

If adopted as currently proposed, the most significant loss to employers will be time -- time to design an appropriate campaign message and a legal strategy to protect their interests and ensure the workforce can cast fully informed votes. The solution is for employers to begin working now with legal counsel and labor consultants to accomplish as much of that work in advance as possible, leaving only “fine tuning” for the shortened campaign period. Organized Labor has been perfecting its campaign message for years; early preparation by employers will ensure they do not get caught flat-footed once a petition is filed.  

Robert T. Quackenboss is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Hunton & Williams LLP. He focuses his practice on complex labor and business disputes, representing clients in federal and state courts nationwide and before the National Labor Relations Board, as well as providing counsel on practical global labor relations strategies, collective bargaining and management of union elections. He can be reached at rquackenboss@hunton.com. Alex Romero, a student at the University of Virginia School of Law, assisted in the preparation of this article.

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