This is really good news, and will make it a lot easier to organize unions -- which of course, is a step toward rebuilding our virtually-extinct middle class:
In the most significant policy change ever undertaken by the Obama administration to strengthen the power of labor unions, a divided National Labor Relations Board issued a long-awaited final rule speeding up the union election process.
Most significantly, the rule will require businesses to postpone virtually all litigation over union eligibility issues until after the election itself, thereby depriving management of a stall tactic that unions widely claim benefits the employer. In effect, regional NLRB directors will be given broad discretion to rule such litigation unnecessary until an election takes place.
The regulation will also eliminate a previously-required 25-day period between the time an election is ordered and the election itself, and it will require employers to furnish union organizers with all available personal e-mail addresses and phone numbers of workers eligible to vote in a union election. An NLRB decision handed down yesterday essentially prohibited employers from denying union organizers access to company email. The rule will also, for the first time, allow for the electronic filing and transmission of union election petitions.
The board adopted the rule by a 3-2 vote, with the Democratic-appointed members all voting in favor and the Republican-appointed members all voting against.