IBB organizers back NLRB changes

IBB organizer Jody Mauller testifies in favor of new NLRB rules proposed for union elections.

Labor Board proposes easing election rules

BOILERMAKER ORGANIZERS Robert Godinez II and Jody Mauller testified before the National Labor Relations Board April 10 in support of the agency’s proposals to make the union election process simpler and faster.

If the rule changes go into effect, the agency will allow documents to be filed and processed by email, reducing delays due to allowances for traditional mail service. The proposed rules would also standardize regional practices for proceeding with elections, requiring that a pre-election hearing be held within seven days of the election notice filing, and a post-election hearing within 14 days after the election. In addition, the employer would be required to provide the union with a mailing list that includes telephone numbers and email addresses, if available, for the proposed bargaining unit. Only names and addresses are required now.

One of the key rule changes would permit a union election to proceed by deferring litigation over the make-up of the unit when 20 percent or less of the proposed unit is in question. Currently, management can tie up an election almost indefinitely until eligibility issues have been resolved, even if just a few workers are involved.

Organizers Godinez and Mauller both spoke to the board about real life situations they have encountered when attempting to organize units.

“I recently had an experience where a significant portion of a pre-election hearing was spent taking evidence on the supervisory status of a small percentage of team leads,” said Mauller. “Certainly, had the 20 percent deferral rule been in effect, significant time and resources of both the parties and the region could have been spared, and I am convinced the election, in conjunction with other new rules, would have proceeded in a more timely fashion instead of taking over 70 days. The supervisory issue could then have been addressed, if necessary, after the election went forward.”

Godinez recalled a situation in which management argued that firefighters they em-ployed were actually security guards. Although the argument was bogus, the tactic held up the election unnecessarily.

“Ultimately, the regional director found that the firefighters were not guards, but [the employer’s false assertion] required the union and the region to spend a significant amount of time hearing evidence on this frivolous issue. In my view, the proposed rules could have made a meaningful difference in this situation.”