Shorter union election period could hurt employers, assisted living group says

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A recent National Labor Relations Board proposal that could increase union activity has a “job-destroying agenda” said Rep. John Kline (R-MN) at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Thursday.
 
Kline, the committee's chairman, held a hearing called “Rushing Union Elections: Protecting the Interests of Big Labor at the Expense of Workers' Free Choice.” Up for debate was the NLRB proposal that would shorten the lag time between a union petitioning for an election and the holding of a secret-ballot vote. The NLRB hasn't yet specified how many days the new waiting period will be. While the average amount of time was 57 days in 2008, Kline claims that in 2009 this number shrank to just 13 days — and that NLRB officials want to get it down to 10. There were 1,633 union-representation elections in the year ending Sept. 30, 2009, Bloomberg News reported.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the committee, countered by saying that election process delays “intensify workplace conflict,” according to Bloomberg. Miller said a long election process “provides opportunities for unfair labor practices, like threatening or firing workers, in order to undermine workers' freedom of choice.”
 
Unions have increasingly been zeroing in on healthcare workers for unionization. Paul Williams, the Assisted Living Federation of America's senior director of government relations, said that if the proposed rules are adopted, unions would be empowered to conduct more “ambush campaigns” against small employers.

“These rules will especially hamper small businesses, which will probably lack the time and resources needed to adequately address these types of campaigns,” Williams said. He added that ALFA “applauds Chairman John Kline for continuing his efforts to hold the NLRB accountable for promoting a radical agenda at the expense of employee and employer rights.”
 
The NLRB has scheduled a hearing on the election rules on July 18 and 19 in Washington.

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