HR Administration

SHRM’s Political Will Flexes Again

By Rick Bell

Jan. 6, 2015

While it shouldn’t have come as a big surprise, I was still a bit shocked when I saw the announcement that the Society for Human Resource Management is joining several pro-business organizations in a lawsuit to stop the National Labor Relations Board’s so-called “ambush elections” rule.

The rule, which was released by the NLRB in mid-December after a divided vote and is set to take effect April 14, shortens the time frame for businesses to hold union elections to as little as 14 days. Depending on which side of the fence you sit upon — labor or business — it either improves employee representation with more protections or, as the newly formed coalition says, robs employees of the time needed to gather facts to make an informed decision.

Labor leaders seemed relatively tepid after the NLRB announced its ruling on Dec. 12, but pro-business organizations were fired up about it. With SHRM’s attention so firmly affixed to its new certification process, jumping into the political fray caught me off-guard.

SHRM joins the National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in filing the lawsuit Jan. 5 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Said SHRM President and CEO Hank Jackson in a joint news release:

This rule is an unprecedented change in the union election process, which is governed by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The changes unfairly hinder the ability of employees to make an informed choice about whether or not to join a union. This rule is the latest and most sweeping action by the NLRB to tilt the process toward unionization and prevent employers from effectively communicating with employees, and it should be thrown out.”

Some contend the NLRB ruling is like a watered-down version of 2009’s Employee Free Choice Act, the controversial card check bill that never quite mustered final approval. A similar bill in 2011, dubbed “EFCA light,” also failed to see the light of day.

To see a copy of the coalition’s complaint, click here.

Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email

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