NLRB to Consider Proposed Rule on Union

| April 3, 2014

NAMA

April 4, 2014

Source: NAMA

The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) is asking its members and members of other trade groups such as NAC to contact their lawmakers regarding this important issue.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or “Board”) has recently proposed an expansive rule to change the Board’s procedures for union election campaigns in the workplace. The rule was first proposed in 2011, but was halted from implementation due to a court ruling that determined that the Board used improper procedures to adopt it.

The Board received 65,958 written comments from organizations and employers expressing concern about the effect of the 2011 rule, and yet despite this significant response, the current proposed rule is essentially the same as the version introduced in 2011. More specifically, the proposed rule contains a number of detrimental provisions, including:

1) Shortened Timeframe for Workplace Elections:
The proposed rule significantly shortens the time period from when the union’s petition is filed until the election, moving from the current 30 to 47-day average timeframe to as short a time period as 10 to 11 days. Because unions can prepare their entire unionization campaign before making it public, shortening the time between filing and the election creates a disadvantage for employers. Unless employers have adequate time to prepare their educational materials, employees will not have full information about the pros and cons of unionization. In addition, the NLRB has not shown why the current timeframe needs to be shortened.

2) Changes to the Statement of Position.
The proposed rule requires employers to disclose their entire case theory in the statement of position document, and precludes employers from presenting evidence on any issue that the employer fails to include in the Statement. This preclusion raises due process issues for employers and is likely to increase litigation.

3) Mandated Disclosure of Employee Information.
Under the proposed rule, employers are required to turn over private employee information, including employee telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. The rule does not specify whether this requirement refers to home or work contact information or both. This provision raises concerns about violation of employee privacy, and could make them subject to undue pressure or intimidation by union representatives outside of the workplace.

Please Submit Your Comments to the NLRB by Monday, April 7, 2014

The re-introduction of this proposed rule provides NAMA members and our coalition partners with another opportunity to submit comments to the NLRB to express concerns about the impact of this proposal on our industry and employers nationwide.We encourage all NAMA members to make their voices heard on this issue by submitting comments to the NLRB by Monday, April 7, 2014 by following the directions below:

Submit your comments by clicking here to access the Regulations.gov website. On this website, you should type your information into the form provided, copy and paste the suggested comments below into the box on the right, and click the SUBMIT button to file your comment with the NLRB. Please feel free to edit and revise the proposed text (below) to incorporate your own thoughts and experience.

Mr. Gary Shinners
Executive Secretary
National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20570

Re: Proposed Rule Governing Representation Case Procedures; Docket ID No. NLRB-2011-0002

Dear Mr. Shinners:

I am writing to share my concerns about the National Labor Relations Board’s (“Board”) proposal to change its process for union representation. As business owner and employer, I do not believe that the Board has properly established the need for changes to the election rules.

Currently, the average time for a representation election for all petitions filed is 31 days. I am very concerned that the proposed shortened time frame of 10-11 days will improperly interfere with employer’s ability to communicate with their employees regarding union representation campaigns. Further, such a short timeframe does not afford employees adequate time to make an informed decision.

The proposed rule does not properly balance the rights of employees, employers and labor unions in the pre-election period, and deprives employers of their due process rights under the National Labor Relations Act. For example, under the proposal, expedited elections could be conducted before a hearing is held regarding critical questions such as who is actually eligible to vote. In addition, the proposal would require employers turn over employee telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, but does not make clear whether this refers to home or work contact information. I am concerned about the invasion of employee privacy and workplace implications of this new requirement.

I believe that this proposed rule, as drafted, will improperly interfere with the communication between employers and employees. Therefore, I respectfully request that the rule be withdrawn.

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