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HB Legal: Employment Law

(page 4 of 4)

On August 25, 2011,

Ronald Y. K. Leong
Section Leader
Labor, Employment and Employment Benefits Group

the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published its “final rule” requiring most private sector employers to post a notice of employee rights to organize a union.  This posting requirement is effective April 30, 2012.

Additionally, on November 30, 2011, the NLRB approved a resolution to implement amendments to union election procedures.  These union election procedures are applicable when a union files a petition for a representation election in which employees vote as to whether or not they want to be represented by a union.  These amendments are scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012.  

Q: What are the substantive changes made by the amendments?

A: Among other things, the new amendments limit the scope of pre-election hearings, effectively eliminate the parties’ right to seek review of pre-election rulings, and eliminate the current restriction on setting election dates no sooner than 25 days after a direction of election.

Q: What do the posting requirement and amendments mean for employers?

A: The posting informs employees of their rights to join a union, and lists examples of prohibited conduct by employers.  The amendments are designed to ease and speed up the union election process which is not generally in the best interest of employers.  Currently, the median time between petition filing and the election has been 38 days.  If a hearing is necessary, the median time has been approximately 56 days.  The amendments could result in only 8-13 days between the petition and the election.  The obvious impact is a significant reduction in time to educate employees about why unions may not be in their best interest.  

Q: What are some practical tips for employers in light of the posting requirement and amendments?

A: The posting requirement and amendments emphasize the importance of preventive labor relations.  Employers must anticipate and be prepared for how their employees will respond to the posting.  With respect to the amendments, employers should (1) assess the workplace to ensure that employees’ concerns are properly addressed, (2) be proactive in lawfully communicating the company’s position on unions, and (3) train supervisors on unions in the workplace and employee rights.
Here at Watanabe Ing LLP, we are proactive in assisting our clients with addressing their labor and employment needs.  We welcome the opportunity to assist you.

 

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