Here’s How Union Election Rules Will Be Changing Soon

By Eric B. Meyer

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board  gave a glimpse into how it plans to change the way your workplace may become unionized.

As the Board explains here, the new rules that it intends to implement will limit the number of issues that an employer and union can raise prior to a union election. The rules will also deprive the parties of the right to be heard on pre-election appeals.

As one of my favorite labor-law bloggers, Seth Borden, at Labor Relations Today notes, this could place your company between a rock and a hard place:

While this may reduce delay in a few extreme cases, it may more universally deny the parties the certainty of their legal rights and responsibilities in connection with the election. One troubling possible example that comes immediately to mind is an employer not knowing whether an individual in the proposed unit is legally a “supervisor” under the NLRA until after the election. Anything that employer says to that individual during the pre-election period might generate employer liability if the individual is ultimately declared non-supervisory. On the other hand, anything that individual says to employees might generate employer liability if the individual is ultimately found to be a supervisor. The chilling effect on an employer’s rights to communicate with and direct its workforce during the pre-election period is obvious.”

Not only does the Board intend to cut down the average time between union petition and election, but it also intends to “make such other amendments as may be needed to effectuate the purposes of, or conform the remainder of the existing rules to, the amendments [the Board intends to pass].” Do you have any idea what that means? Me neither.

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You can read more about the anticipated rule changes here. And if you are interested in how these new rules may effect your workplace, you can click here and stream the meeting that Board will hold at 2:30 pm Eastern today (11:30 am Pacific).

Attorney Eric Meyer will be leading a group of HR pros in a panel discussion on Social Media in the Workplace – Where is it Today, Where is it Going Tomorrow? at the TLNT Transform conference in Austin, TX Feb. 26-28, 2012. Click here for more information on this event. 

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.


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