Dreading April 14th & 15th / Government Union Transparency, Idaho-Style

Employers Can Now Dread April 14th and April 15th

On April 14, 2015, new regulations developed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the nation’s top labor arbiter, will go into effect. The new labor regulations, dubbed by some as the “Ambush Election Rule” will allow unions to organize inside a workplace under a highly compressed time frame with little or no recourse for employers to tell their side of the story.

According to David Phippen, a management-side labor lawyer at Constangy, Brooks & Smith, under this newly enacted rule, “most of the burdens [fall] on employers.” Specifically, “the NLRB mandates that employers respond to petitions for union election with specific objections or unit organizing waivers within eight days and that elections themselves take place in as little as two weeks.” Keep in mind that prior to a union election occurring, union organizers may have been courting potential members for years at a worksite.

Last month, congressional leaders passed resolutions to block the new rule. However, President Obama used a procedural veto last Tuesday to allow the rule to proceed. As such, the date of enactment is Tuesday, April 14th, 2015.

Attorney Phippen warned employers about the new system and the expedience which favors unions by saying, “Much of the new system seems set up to mute employers to some extent and to generate unfair labor practice charges against employers who cannot navigate a more complicated minefield.” The new regulations are so complicated that, according to a press report, the NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin “forgot the new timelines during a congressional hearing.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the National Federation of Independent Business and a “coalition led by the Chamber of Commerce have filed separate lawsuits attempting to throw out the ‘ambush’ rule.”

Government Union Transparency, Idaho-Style

On Monday, the governor of Idaho signed into law legislation that forces all union negotiations “between a governing body and a labor organization “to be in open session and available for the public to attend. This legislation also requires local units of government (such as school boards or city councils) to keep “workshops” or “working sessions” (where union contracts are often negotiated) designated as “open meetings.”

In contrast, Minnesota’s weak law that outlines terms and conditions for public labor negotiations allows that, during contract negotiations, one side to the dispute can request mediation and force discussion from that point forward to occur behind closed doors. The Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS), the state agency that oversees contract mediation as well as laborunionelections,chooses to conduct all mediation sessions in private--even when those sessions deal with public schools and public contracts funded by public tax dollars.

The Idaho legislature passed this transparency legislation unanimously.

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