by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Management attorneys and trade groups are petitioning the Trump administration to reverse President Obama’s rule changes that drastically sped up the timeline of union elections.
The National Labor Relations Board, a top federal labor arbiter that oversees union election procedures and settles workplace disputes, is reviewing the so-called Ambush rules adopted in December 2014. The standing rules force employers to respond to a union petition within 8 business days and eliminated a 25-day waiting period in between the election process. Management-side attorneys say the dramatic increase in the timeline hurts the ability of companies to respond to union campaigns that in some cases have been years in the making.
“It deprives employers, especially small employers, of their due process rights,” said Michael Lotito, a management-side attorney at Littler Mendelson. The initial gap in time is the most damaging for companies, many of which may not have access to counsel. Under the new rules, employers must respond to petition with their entire position statement within the first eight days—any issue not included in that initial document is considered waived.
“The current rules have some serious structural problems and these employers face enormous time pressure,” Lotito said. “This is shocking for a small employer that has probably never dealt with a federal agency before. It is a major, major, major undertaking.”