U.S. Chamber, Business Groups File Lawsuit to Stop NLRB’s ‘Ambush Elections’ Rule

Monday, January 5, 2015 - 5:45pm

‘The NLRB’s rule drastically accelerates the union election process, depriving employers of their right to explain to employees the impacts of unionizing,’ says Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, and Society for Human Resource Management, filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from moving forward with its “ambush elections” rule. The rule significantly shortens the period between the time the union files a request for an election with the Board and the time the election is to be held.

“The NLRB’s rule drastically accelerates the union election process, depriving employers of their right to explain to employees the impacts of unionizing,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “Furthermore, we question the need for the regulation given that 95 percent of all elections are now conducted within two months and that unions win more than two-thirds of them.”

According to the Chamber’s lawsuit, the rule violates the National Labor Relations Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as employers’ free speech and due process constitutional rights. In particular, the Chamber’s lawsuit challenges the Board’s rule as impermissibly limiting employers’ rights to communicate with employees about unionization by dramatically shortening the period between the filing of a union election petition and the holding of the election itself. 

A similar regulation was issued in 2011, which the Chamber successfully challenged on the ground that the regulation was invalid because of the lack of a proper quorum. The earlier lawsuit, also filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. NLRB.

“The Chamber already won a legal battle against the NLRB when it issued this rule in 2011, and we will continue to use all available means to push back against the Board’s overreach,” Johnson continued.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.