Practice Areas

Ambush Elections Are Back!

February 2014

By: Richard H. Wessels, Esq.

Ambush elections are back! The National Labor Relations Board announced last week in Washington that they are once again proposing dramatically shortened timeframes for union organizing elections. This is a reappearance of pro-union rules which were approved by the NLRB in 2011, but were successfully challenged on the basis that the NLRB did not have the required quorum. The new fast track election period will greatly favor unions. It will also include such things as forcing companies to provide organizers detailed information on employees, including home phone numbers, and a streamlined process undercutting a company's ability to challenge various election issues. But, the most important feature remains the requirement that you could be facing an election on a ten day fast track.

It is expected that public hearings will take place at the NLRB in Washington in April with an expected vote sometime after that. It is a near certainty that the three pro-union members on the NLRB will vote to approve the new rules and they will out vote the two Republican board members. So, it is likely that business will be looking at a strongly pro-union union organizing procedure which is, in our view, properly called "ambush elections."

The practical implications for employers are that they will need to be far more sophisticated in handling campaigns. At a minimum, they should have an emergency game plan ready to go because there will be precious little time to react. Training of supervisors on the issue is an excellent idea and you can contact us if you wish to do that. Another good idea is to have available a ready-made campaign using a video format, again, because you are going to have to act very quickly. The two top companies out there that have solid off-the-shelf material are Labor Relations Institute and Projections, Inc. You can take a look at their material on their websites which are LRI - http://www.lrionline.com/ or Projections Inc. - http://www.projectionsinc.com/.

If you want to get ahead of the curve with supervisory training, contact Dick Wessels at 630-377-1554 or via e-mail at riwessels@wesselssherman.com.