Obama-era rules giving unions huge advantage in secret ballot elections


A new analysis revealed that former President Barack Obama’s rules which allowed the fast-tracking of the union election process increased the chances of union victories.

Since the Democrat-controlled National Labor Relations Board amended its election rules to accommodate speedier union votes and increase the amount of personal information that companies must provide to labor unions, victories by unions in secret ballot elections have remained steady.

However, according to an analysis by management-side law firm Fisher Phillips, the shortened time required between filing for an election and holding one may be contributing to union success. The analysis found that when the NLRB, which oversees union elections, scheduled elections within a two-week period, unions are victorious nearly 83 percent of the time. If employees are allowed more time to consider the potential benefits and costs of exclusive union representation, unions’ success rates declined sharply, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

“When elections happen in 14 days or less, unions win at higher rates, 82.4 percent compared to 66.6 percent,” the analysis found. “Meanwhile, management win rates have remained virtually unchanged from 32.9 percent in 2014-2015 to 33.2 percent in 2017-2018.”

The win rate for unions was lower prior to the change in the rules by the Obama administration.

“Before the rule was changed, the union-win rate for bargaining units with 25 or less people was 69 percent. In the three years since, the win rate went up to 74 percent,” he said.

The Obama administration election rules went into effect after Obama vetoed a congressional resolution intended to prohibit the accelerated timeframe. Management-side attorneys and employers have fought back ever since. Fisher Phillips’ Steve Bernstein said the win-rate nationwide may be the same, but the new rules have allowed labor organizers more time to dispute results and overturn losses.

“That’s not something that’s going to show up in election results [statistics], but can show up in unfair labor practice complaints,” said Bernstein. “It’s very tough for an employer to deal with these issues in real time. It’s been a recipe for confusion.”

The NLRB is currently considering revisiting the rule as they review nearly 7,000 public comments submitted by those on both sides of the issue, including union advocates, employers, and labor law experts.

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