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National Restaurant Association - Proposed union rules would reduce employer rights

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Proposed union rules would reduce employer rights

The National Labor Relations Board has resurrected its push for sped-up union elections, going on the offense now that the NLRB has a legal quorum and can move forward with rulemaking.

New proposal: The NLRB outlined a long list of proposed changes to union-election rules that would speed up union elections, scale back employers’ ability to challenge union petitions, and cut the time for employers to educate employees about unionization after a petition is filed and before an employee vote. The NLRB announced the proposed changes Feb. 5 and asked for public comments on its proposal by April 7.

Why it matters to restaurants: The changes the NLRB has proposed would limit employers’ ability to respond to union-election campaigns. They would

  • restrict employers’ ability to file pre-election appeals
  • eliminate rules that require a minimum of 25 days between the time an election has been directed and a vote is held
  • curtail employers from using pre-election hearings to question individual employees’ eligibility to vote, among other issues.
  • require employers to file their position statement on union election petitions within seven days after a union files its representation petition
  • require employers to hand over employees’ email addresses and phone numbers to the union. Currently, only names and addresses are required.
  • reduce the time employers have to give voter eligibility lists to the union to just two work days, compared to the current seven.

Why now? The NLRB has been trying for years to move forward with changes to make it easier for unions to win elections. The NLRB finalized a so-called “ambush election” regulation in December 2011, but was thwarted when a federal appeals court ruled that the NLRB didn’t have the authority to adopt final regulations when it lacks a required quorum. The National Restaurant Association, as part of the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, was among those who filed a lawsuit challenging the NLRB’s authority to issue the regulation. With five appointees to the Board, the NLRB is now fully staffed and constitutionally functional for purposes of a quorum and free to issue (or reissue) rules such as the ambush election rule without concern for constitutional challenges.

Next steps for the National Restaurant Association: The NRA will file comments with the NLRB by April 7 objecting to the proposed rule. We also strongly support congressional action to rein in the NLRB. The House of Representatives voted in late 2011 to block the ambush-election rule and we will push for similar action now.

More information: Contact Angelo Amador, aamador@restaurant.org, or Ryan Kearney, rkearney@restaurant.org.

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