We are just over two months into the new “Quickie” or “Ambush” election rules initiated on April 14, 2015 by the National Labor Relations Board. These were designed by a Democratic appointed, Pro-Union National Labor Relations Board to help Unions win a greater percentage of representative elections. The premise was that if the election could be held as quickly as possible, the company would have less time to respond and the Union would prevail. I have been asked by several people what has been the real effect. It is very early and the statistics are probably not relevant but here are some initial results:
- The NLRB has dropped the average time between the filing of an election petition to the date of the election from 42 days to 24 days
- Election results have not been changed significantly. Unions are only winning just over half the elections, the same rate basically as under the old rules.
- There has not been a significant increase in the number of election petitions filed if you factor out two multi-site employers who were hit with numerous petitions just after the new rules took effect.
I will continue to track these measures and alert you if any trends begin to appear. There have been a couple of developments that are worth noting:
- Rigid Rule Enforcement. To attain the accelerated election results, the NLRB has initiated some very stringent rules pertaining to election calendars and restricted authority even from their Regional Directors from deviating from them. As an example, I was denied a five day postponement request for a personal vacation planned around my mother’s 90th birthday / family reunion. Reasonableness is no longer a consideration.
- Technical Accuracy. The NLRB insists all documents, processes and procedures are 100% technically accurate. I believe this is a protective stance against subsequent challenges to the new accelerated process.
- Decreased Unfair Labor Charges. I have no accurate statistical basis for this assertion as yet, but I believe the Unions have taken as a tactic not to file pre-election Unfair Labor Charges in an effort to get accelerated elections. I have had fewer cases to respond to in campaigns I have been involved with since April.
My final thought is that, if the Quickie / Ambush election rules do not result in an increase in the number of election petitions Unions file and in their success rate in winning election, as the initial statistic seem to indicate, this might be the best thing that could happen for organizations. Why?
- A union campaign is a disruptive factor to the organization. Cutting the timeframe in half should be good. These campaigns take the focus off the real objectives of an organization. The best way to minimized them is with an employee relation strategy that avoids them completely but once in, get it over with ASAP. The new rules are doing this.
- The cost of running a campaign to remain non-union is reduced. Labor consultants time is significant, as are associated legal expenses. Shorter campaigns should equal less costs.
- Potential reduced costs in responding to a reduction of Unfair Labor Charges.
I also believe the timing of the election is not the issue that has driven the American worker over the last 40 years to prefer a direct relationship with their employer. The American worker, who is given a safe work environment, treated with respect and allowed to contribute to an organizations success is not interested in joining a union, whenever an election is held.