Proposed Ambush Rules and Proactive Union Avoidance

By Jon Hyman

Feb. 10, 2014

Last week I suggested that a pro-union National Labor Relations Board has emboldened labor unions into more aggressive organizing efforts. You need not look any further than yesterday’s news that the NLRB has reissued its ambush-election rules.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the median time between the filing of a representation petition by employees, and the NLRB holding an election in a contested organizing campaign, is 59 days. The NLRB’s proposed rules would cut that time by more than half, to a lightning-quick 25 days or less.

Make no mistake, this proposal is primarily designed to help labor unions win elections. Often, an employer does not know that a labor union is attempting to organize until after the representation petition is filed. By that point, the union and its organizers have already planted the seeds of employer discontent with workers, leaving the employer to play catch-up. The quicker the election period, the less time the employer has to spread its message. Thus, these rules, if they take effect, will be a big win for labor unions.

There are two things you can do, right now, to protect yourself.

  1. The NLRB is taking comments until April 7 on these proposed rules. Write to your Senator. Write to your Congressman. Talk to your trade and business organizations. Compel anyone you can to take a stand against these rules and hope for a more reasonable outcome.

  2. Heed my call from last week to take steps now to formulate, and communicate to your employees, your corporate message on labor unions. The importance of having your strategy in place before a union comes knocking will be even more important if these new election rules take hold.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. Comment below or email  For more information, contact Hyman at (216) 736-7226 or Follow Hyman on Twitter at @jonhyman.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at

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