Tomorrow, the National Labor Relations Board will post a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) aimed at shortening the time allowed for union certification elections. These so-called snap elections are the latest attempt by the NLRB to effectively do for the unions what Congress wouldn’t – stack the deck in their favor.
There are many troubling aspects to this proposed rule, but perhaps the most important question to ask is – what’s broken in the system they’re trying to fix? In 2009, labor unions won 68.5 percent of representation elections. Furthermore, 95 percent of all elections are conducted within 56 days of the filing petition submitted by the union. In 2010, the average time from filing of the petition to election was 31 days. Again, what is the goal of the NLRB in proposing snap-elections?
As NLRB Member Brian Hayes stated in his dissent:
“Make no mistake, the principal purpose for this radical manipulation of our election process is to minimize, or rather, to effectively eviscerate an employer’s legitimate opportunity to express its views about collective bargaining.”
In order for employees to make an informed choice in the important decision of whether or not they feel they need a labor union to represent them in negotiations with their employer, employees need to be able to obtain information from both the labor union wishing to represent them and their employer. Snap union elections drastically limit both the time employees have to receive this information and their ability to carefully contemplate their decision.
At a time when manufacturers are focused on remaining competitive and creating jobs, federal agencies should not be focused on developing regulations that disrupt employee relations.
Joe Trauger is vice president for human resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.