'Quickie elections' suspended for now by National Labor Relations Board
Updated On: May 25, 2012 (13:51:00)
The NLRB reacts to a court decision from a District of Columbia case; business, of course, applauds the move
On May 15, the National Labor Relations Board suspended implementation
of its "quickie" union election rule after the District
With all of the attention
focused May 15 on the Oregon Primary Election, there were other bits of news of
interest to union members that slipped under the radar. One such instance was
the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversing course and suspending
implementation of its so-called "quickie" union election rule. It did so after
the District Court for the District of Columbia deemed the rule invalid because
an NLRB quorum was not present when the rule was invoked.
In what appears to be a
quirky decision, the D.C. court said all three NLRB members must participate in
order to establish a quorum.That
runs counter to the general rule-of-thumb in most other bodies of government,
where a quorum, by definition, is simply a majority of those elected, appointed
or however placed on the administrative body.
There's no word yet as to
whether the NLRB will appeal the decision, but it will likely do so. For now,
NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has temporarily suspended the rule.
The measure, which had taken effect on April 30, has been characterized as
acceleration of the union election process. Here are some of the rule's
The rule denied employers, at least from their
point of view, the opportunity to discuss unionization with employees and
eliminated the ability to challenge proposed elections.
The rule prevented employer challenges to
potential employee voters before the election.
The rule prevented employers from appealing,
before the vote, an NLRB regional director's decision as to who is
entitled to vote; and
The rule eliminated the 25-day window after a
direction of an election, thereby causing elections to be faster than the
As you might expect, Big
Business was quick to applaud the decision; organized labor criticized the
action. While some observers have speculated that the NLRB could simply
republish the "quickie" union election rule with the existing panel, because
President Obama appointed three of the five NLRB members as recess appointments
without seeking confirmation by the Senate, the authority of the NLRB to act as
a quorum is presently being challenged in another federal court. Ergo, it seems
unlikely the NLRB will revote on the "quickie rule" until the D.C. Court of
Appeals case is settled.
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