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Ambush at the NLRB: Unions Winning Over 60% of Elections Under New Rules

Implementation of the National Labor Relations Board’s ambush election rule is in full swing, and, after seven weeks of experience under the new rule, NLRB case data reveal that unions are winning well over 60 percent of representation elections conducted by the NLRB.  During the period beginning April 14, 2015, the effective date of the NLRB rule, and ending June 5, 2015, the rate at which unions won representation elections in 71 elections as reported as of June 5, 2015, was 62.0 percent.  During the NLRB’s fiscal years 2004 through 2013, unions’ average win rate in representation elections was 63.3 percent, with the highest percentage of 68.5 percent occurring in 2009 and the lowest percentage of 57.2 percent occurring in 2004.  Unions' win rate during the April 14-June 5 period (the "Relevant Period") in 2014 was 66.3 percent.

The early election-results data are incomplete. Based on NLRB docket information, during the Relevant Period in 2014, the Board conducted 240 elections, and during the Relevant Period in 2015, as of June 5, 2015, the Board had conducted 71 elections and had an additional 151 elections scheduled.  The results in the 151 remaining elections, as well as the results in other cases filed since the Relevant Period in 2015, will determine whether the new rule will produce a higher win rate for unions.  So far, based on NLRB’s reported docket activity as of June 5, 2015, the unions’ win rate of 62 percent in the 71 elections completed as of June 5, 2015, is consistent with unions’ 10-year average win rate. With more cases over time and more complete docket information, the data will enable more confidence in analytical conclusions relating to election results, which will permit more focused employer strategies.

The results stated above are based on NLRB reports and docket activity as of June 5, 2015 in 71 cases filed on or after April 14, 2015, in which an election was conducted as of June 5, 2015. 

The NLRB reports and dockets are available at www.nlrb.govAmbush Elections NLRB Union Representation

© 2020 Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.National Law Review, Volume V, Number 169


About this Author

Timothy M. McConville, Labor Law Attorney, Odin Feldman Law Firm

Tim McConville has years of experience providing labor and employment law counsel to employers ranging from small entities to Fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees. He brings a unique perspective to his management-side labor and employment practice because he understands the viewpoint of the individual employee based on his extensive experience advocating and representing individuals victimized by organized labor while he was a leader at the National Right to Work Committee and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. His clients rely on his ability to help them...