Jun 21, 2011 - 9:39am

Rapid-fire NLRB actions signal urgency caused by members’ expiring terms


Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division
As we have long warned would occur, the National Labor Relations Board is now speeding up the process under which workplace representation elections take place.    Currently, when workers vote over whether or not to form a union, most elections are held within between 45-60 days once the NLRB receives a petition, allowing both the union and employer to make their cases.
               According to the Associated Press:
“The new plan could cut that time by days or even weeks - depending on the case - by simplifying procedures, deferring litigation and setting shorter deadlines for hearings and filings.”
                Cutting short the election period aims to tip the scale in favor of union organizing by curtailing employers’ free speech rights and preventing workers from hearing both sides of the story. 
We've seen an unprecedented barrage of administrative actions designed to favor labor unions as of late from the NLRB. From the baseless suit against Boeing to new rules that would interfere with basic management decisions about unions and cut short the election process, the Board is forcefully making up for the failure of card check.  The agency seems bent on cramming in as many rapid-fire anti-employer actions as possible before two looming vacancies upend its ability to function.  With Chairman Wilma Liebman's term up August 27 and Member Craig Becker's recess appointment expiring at the end of the year, the sand is running out of the hourglass since the Supreme Court ruled that the agency must have a quorum of three members to issue decisions and the two vacancies would leave only two remaining members.
Piling on further, just yesterday the Department of Labor announced a proposed rule designed to deter employers from seeking almost any outside assistance whatsoever when dealing with union issues. When viewed in tandem with today’s NLRB announcement, it’s clear  that the administrative agencies are doing their best to make up for the failure of the unions' legislative agenda.
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Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division

Glenn Spencer is senior vice president of the Employment Policy division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.