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NLRB Issues Final Rule on “Ambush” Elections

On December 12, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board issued its Final Rule on representational elections under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The so-called “ambush” rule significantly shortens the time for representation elections for unions. This means that employers will have less time to prepare for an election or to let their employees know their views concerning unions.

The Final Rule postpones most litigation over eligibility issues until after the election. The shortened time frame also will require employers to determine any issues very early in the process. Issues that are not identified by specified deadlines will not be able to be litigated.

The truncated time frame will make it harder for employers to formulate strategies to communicate with employees about their options regarding whether or not to elect to have a union.

The Final Rule also will require that, shortly after a union files a petition for an election, the employer will need to provide the union with information about all of the employees who may be eligible to vote in the election, including their personal phone numbers and personal e-mail addresses, if the employer has them. This has raised concerns about employee privacy issues.

The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2014, and is set to be effective beginning April 14, 2015.

What Does This Mean For You? It is more important than ever for employers to have a plan of action in place in case they become aware of union organizing activity. Additionally, it is more important than ever that employers work to ensure employee satisfaction, to avoid the possibility of a union campaign. Employers should review policies and train supervisors to make sure that all employees are treated fairly, and should try to address issues of employee dissatisfaction as they arise. An employer’s best chance of remaining union free is by taking proactive action now to ensure fair treatment, rather than waiting until an organizing campaign is underway.

If you have questions about this or any other employment or labor law issue, please contact S. Whitney Rahman at (717) 509-7237 or at swr@blakingerthomas.com

This update should neither be construed as legal advice, nor as lobbying of any sort for or against any National Labor Relations Board rules or decisions.