NLRB Postpones Postponement of Elections
On March 20th, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) suspended all representation elections, including those by mail ballot, through April 3, due to concerns related to the coronavirus. In its announcement, it indicated it was taking this unprecedented action to protect the “health and safety of its employees, as well as members of the public.” Many NLRB regional offices are closed, and the majority of NLRB investigators are working remotely.
In an April 1 notice on its website, the NLRB opted not to extend this deadline, and it announced it will resume elections beginning on Monday, April 6. NLRB Chairman John Ring explained, “The Board determined that a two-week suspension would provide the General Counsel…the opportunity to fully review the logistics of the election procedures in light of the unprecedented situation. The General Counsel now has advised that appropriate measures are available to permit elections to resume in a safe and effective manner, which will be determined by the Regional Directors.”
The Chairman did not expand on what are the “appropriate measures…available to permit elections to resume in a safe and effective manner.” Regardless, employers whose facilities were being unionized prior to the COVID-19 pandemic are on notice that the global pandemic no longer will indefinitely suspend the processing of election petitions and scheduling of elections. Considering the NLRB has postponed the implementation of its revised election rules through May 31, 2020, elections over the next two months will be occurring pursuant to the current “quickie” election rules and will likely occur very quickly.
Employers should consult in-house or outside labor counsel immediately following any signs of a union organizing campaign.