by Robert J. Hollingsworth
On May 15, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) announced that it “has temporarily suspended implementation” of its new expedited election procedures. The Board’s action was in response to a decision the previous day by a federal district court in the District of Columbia that the NLRB had improperly adopted the new “quickie election” rule, which became effective on April 30, 2012. The General Counsel of the NLRB has now advised the NLRB Regional Offices to revert to their previous procedures for election petitions.
At the time of the NLRB’s announcement, there were about 150 election petitions pending under the new rule. It will be interesting to see how many of the 150 or so parties seeking elections will continue their cases under the old procedures. The reaction of these parties will indicate how much the new procedures influence unions to seek elections they would not have requested under the old procedures.
The Board’s suspension of its new rule is just the initial skirmish in what is likely to be a long battle. The district court’s ruling was based on a single procedural defect: the NLRB lacked a quorum necessary to adopt the new rule. The parties challenging the new rule, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have raised several other arguments that still need to be addressed.
Despite suspending the new rule, the Democrat majority that controls the Board has no intention of backing down. Board Chairman Mark G. Pearce commented:
We continue to believe that the amendments represent a significant improvement in our process and serve the public interest by eliminating unnecessary litigation.... We are determined to move forward.
“Moving forward” clearly indicates that these Board members intend to re-approve the new election procedures before the full five-member NLRB panel.
Stay tuned for further developments. The battle has just begun.