nlrbThe National Labor Relations Board is proposing a rule change that would possibly remove frivolous litigation and delays in union elections.

Deja vu?

If so, it is because the common sense rule change is identical in scope to what the Board proposed in 2011 … won … got sued … had it all rolled back.

In announcing the proposal, Board Chair Mark Gaston Pearce, said, “The Board is unanimaous in its support for effective representation case procedures,” and that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in June 2011 “continues to best frame the issues and raises the appropriate concerns for public comment.”

During the summer of 2011, my union and others were pushing hard for this rulemaking by getting our members’ stories heard on the subject. One of those members is a healthcare worker in Los Angeles named Veronica.

In early 1998, Veronica and her colleagues at St. Vincent Medical Center thought it was time they had a voice on the job. They wanted to improve critical patient care issues, and specifically the number of staff assigned to patient care per shift. They organized a union.

Thirteen years after they began organizing and enduring a fierce anti-union campaign that continuously delayed their efforts, they were able to get their union.

This worker’s story is painfully similar to many others and as folks outside of the labor trenches began to hear more and more from us, there was a slight move forward with support coming from people both inside and outside the labor movement.

That didn’t bode well with the morons at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the allied anti-union right wing that sued to stop the rulemaking. They won on grounds that the NLRB at the time did not have a required three-member quorum to act. Keep in mind that they had three members …. but one, Brian Hayes, the sole Republican on the Baord at the time, first threatened to resign and then refused to vote at all and thus, there was no quorum to act.

So, we are at it again!

The Board proposes the following:

  • Allow for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents
  • Ensure that employees, employers, and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process
  • Streamline pre- and post-election procedures to facilitate agreement and eliminate uncessary litigation
  • Include telephone numbers and email addresses in voter lists to enable parties to the election to be able to communicate with voters using modern technology
  • Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process
When we hear of any campaigns or petitions that we can sign to show support for the rulemaking change, we will be sure to post those.