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Union elections rule being attacked by pro-business group


JANUARY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Union elections rule being attacked by pro-business group


LEHIGH VALLEY, December 21st- The new standards proposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC that would shorten when workers could vote whether they want to be represented by a labor union for the purpose of collective bargaining are being critized by anti-union, and pro-business groups and legislation has been introduced to stop the new standards from taking effect.

On June 21st, 2011, the NLRB issued a proposed rule that would potentially remove some of the frivolous litigation that anti-union employers use in union elections that often delay when the employees get to vote on whether they want to be union represented after they have requested the agency conduct an election.

Under the new rule, which is supported by President Obama, representation elections conducted by the NLRB would be held more quickly from the time a petition is filed requesting a union election.

Before a labor organization can file a petition requesting a election at least 30 percent of the employees must support the union and sign the petition requesting the NLRB conduct an election.

A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote employees in a NLRB election to win the right to represent them in collective bargaining.

The proposal would substantially reduced the amount of time employees and employers may communicate prior to the election and will limit the hearings on voter eligibilty, the appropriateness of the unit, and election misconduct.

The United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC sued the National Labor Relations Board to challenge the new rule because of what they termed was a new “ambush election rule.”

“When Congress wisely declined to take up the card check bill, it quickly became clear that the NLRB would work to accomplish the priorities of organized labor through whatever means necessary. This year, Christmas came early for the AFL-CIO, with a huge gift to organized labor from the NLRB,” stated Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits.

“This rule has no conceivable purpose but to make it easier for unions to win elections. While couched in technicalities, the purpose of this regulation is to cut-off free speech rights to educate employees about the effects of unionization. The elimination of these rights has long been on the wish list of organized labor and the Board has dutifully granted that wish,” Mr. Johnson told the newspaper.

However, in reality, employers often want the extra time to hire anti-union lawfirms and consultants, at the cost of thousands of dollars, that will attempt to convince the employees not to support the union or make promises to them that if they vote no the employer would threat them better.

Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC stated the proposed rule does not address many fundamental problems with American labor laws, but it would help bring critically needed fairness and balance to the election part of the process.

“With the proposal of these new standards, the board is taking a modest step to remove roadblocks and reduce unnecessary and costly litigation, and that’s good news for employers as well as employees,” stated Mr. Trumka.

Republican House of Representative John Kline, introduced legislation that would kill the shorten union elections rule on November 28th. HR 3094 is attended to stop the implementation of the rule changes.

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