After two years of threats, on December 12, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule amending its regulations to shorten the time period from the filing of a union’s petition to the date of a union election. This means employers will only have about 10 to 15 days to react to a union petition before the election is held, rather than NLRB’s current 42-day target. The rule changes are scheduled to take effect on April 14, 2015.
While the current time period to learn of an organizing attempt and communicate with employees about alternatives is reasonable, the shorter time frame will significantly impact employers’ free-speech rights and their ability to respond. Employers will not have adequate time to train supervisors to respond appropriately to questions from employees, which means employees may never get to hear why a union may not be their best option.
Since you will not have time to train your managers and supervisors after you learn of a union petition, you may wish to train them now. Important topics include how to identify signs of union organizing and the legal rights, obligations, and prohibitions imposed by the National Labor Relations Act. Managers and supervisors must also know how to recognize and respond to a union campaign, what they can and cannot do legally, and skills and techniques for communicating the company’s position. For example, you probably know you cannot threaten, interrogate, or spy on employees during a union campaign, nor promise them benefits for rejecting a union. But these activities can take different forms, and supervisors must be familiar with them.
If you would like help training your supervisors, MSEC’s Labor Relations Department is happy to assist.
Call us at 800.884.1328.