WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The government
agency that oversees labor relations in private-sector workplaces
said on Wednesday it plans to update unionization rules so the
process is faster, drawing criticism from business groups.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), making proposals that are
virtually identical to some it put forward in 2011, said it wants to
set up new electronic filing procedures and to help employers,
employees and unions share information and reduce unnecessary
A federal court invalidated some of the 2011 proposals, finding they
were adopted without a constitutionally valid quorum of at least
three of the NLRB's five board members.
The reemergence of the proposals on Wednesday drew sharply
The leader of the largest U.S. labor federation called the changes a
"common sense" solution to speed up the election process. "The
current NLRB election process is riddled with delay and provides too
many opportunities for employers to manipulate and drag out the
process through costly and unnecessary litigation and deny workers a
vote," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a major lobbying
group for corporations, attacked the proposals. NAM President Jay
Timmons said in a statement that the time period for a union vote
would be shortened and employers and employees would be stripped of
the ability to get critical information before the vote.
"We will not let this aggressive overreach stand," it said.
Moving to advance the proposals were NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston
Pearce and members Kent Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer, all Democrats.
Republican board members Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson
"With a Senate-confirmed, five-member board, I feel it is important
for the board to fully consider public comment on these proposed
amendments, along with the comments we previously received in 2011,"
Pearce said in a statement.
The deadline for public comments on the proposed rules is April
7. The board will hold a public hearing on them that week.
The National Retail Federation also criticized the NLRB's move,
calling it "part of NLRB's coordinated campaign to tilt union
elections toward their friends and allies in Big Labor."
The changes proposed include requiring employers to provide e-mail
addresses and other employee contact information that unions could
use during electronic voting. All election-related appeals would be
consolidated into a single, post-election appeals process, the board
(Reporting by Amanda Becker; editing by
Kevin Drawbaugh and Grant McCool)