Q: The National Labor Relations Board recently released proposed rules. What are the highlights?
A: The most significant change would allow for speeded-up elections. The NLRB says several amendments are designed to streamline the unionization process, reduce litigation, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing.
Q: Do quicker elections favor organized labor?
A: In a practical sense, yes. Currently, once a union has obtained enough employee signatures to call for an election, there is a 45- to 60-day period before employee voting occurs to determine whether the workplace will be unionized. This “campaign period” is the best opportunity for an employer to explain the disadvantages of collective bargaining and unionization. While the proposed rules don't include any specific deadlines for an election to occur after a petition has been filed by a union, they do specify reduced time frames for pre-election filings, information exchange and hearings.
Q: What Oklahoma industries are likely targets for unionization?
A: Manufacturing and health care sectors are considered prime targets in Oklahoma, as are casinos. Any employer in any industry who wants to stay nonunion must be increasingly vigilant for union organizing efforts and educate and train supervisors and management. In this rapidly changing environment, an employer who waits until it receives a union election petition will have waited too long.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER