Changes to Union Election Rules Forthcoming

The Board will issue a proposed rule sometime this winter that will address the NLRB’s “Blocking Charge” policy to pause elections if workers or unions file complaints alleging employers interfered with the elections. The proposal will also take up the NLRB’s rule that workers must wait at least six months before they can file petitions seeking to oust unions that employers had voluntarily recognized as their exclusive bargaining representatives. The Board created its current “voluntary recognition bar” in its Obama-era 2011 Lamons Gasket decision.

The NLRB requested public input in December 2017 on whether to rescind the 2014 changes to the union election process also called the “ambush” election rule.  Rather than develop a comprehensive rule that attempts to address every potential rule making issue, the NLRB majority intends to conduct the election rule making in a series of smaller rule makings.

NLRB Member Lauren McFerran, the Board’s lone Democrat, said she was “not part of the decision to proceed in this kind of piecemeal fashion” on election-related rule making. McFerran said she finds it “mystifying” as to which topics the board majority chooses to handle through rule making verses case adjudication.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at