Join Us

Sign up for the lastest information from the IBEW!

Related ArticlesRelated Articles

Visit Our Media Department

Print This Page       Text Size:
News Publications

New Union Election Rules Boost Workers’ Rights


May 10, 2012

photo placeholder

A new National Labor Relations Board rule that went into effect April 30 will streamline the union election process and uphold the right of employees to hold a secret vote in a timely manner.

Says IBEW Organizer Cory McCray: 

With new rules to fight back against company delaying tactics, workers are more likely to be guaranteed a fair election process in the workplace.

Under the old rule, it took months – sometimes years – between the time when workers petitioned for a union election and the election itself, allowing management to hold up the process by filing frivolous charges and bringing in union busting consultants to sow discord.

But under the new rule, the board:

  • Strictly limits pre-election hearings to questions of jurisdiction and representation. Disputes about an individual’s eligibility to vote can be resolved after the election takes place.
  • Eliminates the mandatory 25-day waiting period between when petitions are certified and when an election is set, shortening the timeframe for a union election to little as 10 days.

Says McCray:

These are small changes, but it has the power to make or break union elections.

The changes also cut down on excessive paperwork, allowing workers to submit signed petitions online, as well as making workplace elections more transparent, requiring employers to provide workers with an up-to-date voter list in electronic format soon after an election date is set.

The U.S. Senate rejected Republican efforts to overturn the changes April 24.

Sen. Tom Harkin told the Associated Press:

All the board has done is to send a clear message to employers: you can’t abuse the process to buy yourself more time to intimidate workers.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) broke with her party to support the regulations, which were announced by the NLRB last summer.

Says International President Edwin D. Hill:

Our right to vote – both in the community and in the workplace – is sacred and shouldn’t be buried in red tape and bureaucratic delay. I commend those elected officials who stood up for working peoples’ legal rights in the face of the anti-union hysteria coming from big-money special interests.

Another new board rule that went into effect April 30 requires employers to post public notices informing employees of their right to join a union, similar to those already required for safety and minimum wage laws.

Both rules are under attack from the Chamber of Commerce and the anti-union Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which filed lawsuits against the board over the changes.

Since last year, the congressional GOP have launched more than 50 separate attacks on the NLRB – which has seen a revitalization under President Obama – from legislative efforts to limit the board’s authority to threats of defunding.