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NAM files suit against NLRB on “Ambush Elections” rule

The Wall Street Journal (1/6, Trottman, Subscription Publication) reports that a coalition of business groups, including the NAM, filed a lawsuit Monday against the National Labor Relations Board over a rule allowing quicker union-organizing elections. The groups argue that the NLRB exceeded its authority by approving the rule in December and that it therefore shouldn’t be implemented as scheduled in April. The five plaintiffs claim that the rule, in violation of federal law, constrains employers’ power to litigate matters such as whether some workers are eligible to vote, and that it limits communication between employers and employees.

The Hill (1/6, Devaney) notes that in its vote last month the NLRB reissued a rule that had been overturned in federal court. Although it now takes an average of 38 days before a union-organizing vote is conducted, according to the NLRB, the business groups have speculated that the new rule could provide for elections in as few as 10 days. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, The Hill notes, said when the rule was finalized on Dec. 12: “Shortening the time frame before an election robs employees of the ability to gather the facts they need to make important and informed decisions like whether or not to join a union and denies employers adequate time to prepare.”

A piece by Politico Pro (1/5, Mahoney, Subscription Publication) links to the NLRB’s final rule and quotes the plaintiffs’ complaint filed in US District Court in Washington, DC as saying: “The board’s recently issued ‘ambush’ election rule implements sweeping changes to the NLRB’s representation election process that, as the dissenting board members explained, impermissibly ‘limits the right of all parties to engage in protected speech at precisely the time when their free speech rights are most important.’” Should NAM members want to read the full article for free, they may contact National Association of Manufacturers Account Manager Molly Fluet at mfluet@politico.com.

In a news release NAM links to the civil complaint and quotes the association’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly as saying the rule means the Obama administration “has made clear that it plans to pursue a partisan agenda to overturn longstanding and effective labor policy.” She added: “It is déjà vu with the NLRB, and American employees are hurt the most by these recycled policies. Manufacturers will no longer be held hostage by the NLRB, and we are committed to fighting this rule in court to provide certainty for manufacturers and employees alike.”

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