The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are introducing significant new rules that would give unions more tools to organize employees of private employers.
The NLRB proposed new rules that would make the process for unions to petition to represent employees easier and more streamlined. The petitioning union would be able to file documents electronically and receive more compliance assistance from NLRB staff. Representation hearings, which are held to determine the voting unit, would be set and the parties would have to state the issues before the hearing rather wait for an administrative law judge to frame the issues. Lists of employees would have to be provided by the employer to the union earlier in the process. Lists would include employee phone numbers and email addresses and the deadline to produce the lists would be reduced from 7 to 2 days. The proposed rules would also expedite elections. Currently, the NLRB uses a 42-day maximum as a guideline. The average time for elections to be held after the filing of a petition is actually about 38 days. The NLRB would like to cut that time significantly to within 18 to 23 days.