NLRB rule expedites representation elections

A controversial final rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board in December 2011 that overhauls procedures for union representation elections became effective on April 30. Commonly known as the “ambush” elections rule, according to Associated Builders & Contractors, it reduces the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place from the current average of around 40 days to as few as 17–20 days.

The NLRB achieved this drastic reduction in time primarily by combining pre- and post-election appeals, truncating pre- and post-hearing procedures, and limiting the types of issues an employer can raise at a pre-election hearing. (Determining which employees are considered supervisors and which constitute a potential bargaining unit are no longer permitted before the election takes place.) The shortened period for elections places a premium on rapid employer response to organizing activity.