Skip to content

The Rejection of NLRB Election Amendments and its Impact on Workplace Organizing

The Rejection of NLRB Election Amendments and its Impact on Workplace Organizing Background Decorative Image

Recent National Labor Relations Board efforts to reverse portions of union election reforms implemented by the Obama administration have seen a major setback following the rejection of several core amendments to those reforms in the recent AFL-CIO v. NLRB decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.1

The rejected amendments included:

  1. granting parties the right to litigate voter eligibility and inclusion issues before an election, rather than after it;
  2. increasing the minimum amount of time between the dates when an election is initially directed and ultimately scheduled;
  3. extending the amount of time that employers have to provide a list of eligible voters;
  4. limiting eligibility of election observers; and
  5. delaying an election’s certification during the pendency of an appeal.

Other unchallenged NLRB amendments to the election process are now in effect and are summarized in the Board’s announcement here.

Employers should be sensitive to the fact that, especially in light of these amendments’ rejection, union organization efforts can proceed from an initial petition to a final election quickly.

Given current events, union organizers are no doubt thinking about how to leverage worker concerns about job security and job safety, which are two issues that have driven many union organizational campaigns in the past. Accordingly, in order to anticipate possible union organization efforts before an election petition is filed, employers should review their internal employment practices to ensure the fair application of those practices to all employees and that open-door and complaint policies are in place that allow employees to express concerns.

Particular attention should also be paid to employers’ diversity and inclusion practices, which are the subject of increasing scrutiny nationwide. It is not a great leap for employees who have marched in the streets, where legitimate concerns have been raised, to join in concerted activity in the workplace. Attention to the fair application of policies and renewed diversity efforts are not only good HR practices, but also could help employees believe that they do not need a union in the workplace to advocate for those goals.

1 Civ. No. 20-CV-0675 (D.D.C. June 7, 2020).

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.