October 23, 2014

NLRB seeks to speed rep-votes; increase transparency

WASHINGTON – In a move organized labor has long pushed for, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) June 21 proposed new representation-vote rules that will speed-up the voting process and give more transparency to employer actions intended to discourage a “union, yes” vote.

NLRB rulings impact UTU Bus Department members. Rail and airline labor relations are administered by the National Mediation Board.

The NLRB ruling – intended to reduce time-consuming litigation prior to a rep vote, and ensure information about organizing drives is disseminated more quickly – is open for public comment for 75 days, after which the NLRB is expected to issue a final rule.

“The UTU has long been pushing for transparency and streamlining of the rep-vote process,” said UTU National Legislative Director James Stem. “This will restore some level of integrity to the rep-vote process, which has been subject to manipulation by employers.”

Under the proposed rule, employers no longer would be able to delay rep-votes through legal challenges over which employees are eligible to vote. Instead, such litigation would be allowed only after the rep-vote has taken place.

Additionally, the NLRB proposes to allow electronic filing of authorization cards and requests for a rep-vote; and a requirement that employers provide, in a timely manner to union organizers, a voter list of all employees, including phone numbers and email addresses.

The NLRB also proposes that employers disclose the identity of all consultants hired to provide “advice” to the employer on how to respond to organizing drives, or who write materials used by the employer to communicate with workers about the organizing drive. Currently, employers need only provide the identity of consultants who communicate directly with workers.