Federal judge invalidates NLRB 'microwave' elections rule

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 Nursing home can't escape billing charges for "worthless care," federal judge rules.
Nursing home can't escape billing charges for "worthless care," federal judge rules.
A federal district judge has invalidated a union elections rule this week on the grounds that the National Labor Relations Board did not have a quorum when the so-called “microwave rule” was voted on.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote in his opinion that when the rule was adopted, the five-member board only had three members. Regulations stipulate that there must be a quorum of at least three board members present when considering new rules. Labor experts say that the NLRB can easily reinstate the law since it was essentially thrown out on a technicality.

That means more grimacing from long-term care providers, who believe the rule unfairly shortens the union elections process. There's not enough time to inform employees about the downsides of unionizing, providers argue. The legal challenge to the rule was brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace.

Officials from the Assisted Living Federation of America, which has been vocal in its opposition to the NLRB rule acknowledge that the rule could be reinstated.

"We realize that this is not the end of the road," Paul J. Williams, ALFA's senior director of government relations, told McKnight's. "Everyone expects that the ruling will be appealed. You might expect to see some movement, or the filing of a formal appeal in the fall or later this year," Williams added.