The National Labor Relations Board suffered another setback earlier this week when a federal judge in Washington, D.C., found that a new NLRB rule meant to streamline union representative elections didn’t meet procedural muster. The board announced Tuesday it was suspending the measure while evaluating its appeal options.
The rule, which took effect April 30, eliminated some roadblocks between employees deciding to unionize and the final election of those employees’ union representatives. Previously, if disputes arose about who could vote in a union election, for example, hearings and briefings before the NLRB could be called. Those hearings could delay the elections for too long, union-side lawyers say, dragging out the process to the point that employees’ rights to unionize could be compromised. The new rule postpones most hearings until after the election, a change in process that management-side lawyers say will cut the time between calling for an election and actually having one in half — not enough time for employers to mount campaigns to address underlying issues that may be prompting the drive to unionize.