November 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 332

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Union Election Petitions on the Rise, Total Number of FY21 Petitions Eclipses in First Three Quarters of FY22

On July 13, 2022 the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) announced that by May 25th, 2022 the number of union representation petitions filed with the Board surpassed the total number of petitions filed in all of Fiscal Year 2021. Representation petitions are requests to have the NLRB conduct an election to determine if employees wish to be represented by a union. During the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1-June 30), 1,935 representation petitions were filed with the Board. This represents a 56% increase from the 1,240 filed in the first three quarters of FY2021. The Board also noted that, in addition to the rise in petitions, the number of unfair labor practice charges increased from 11,451 to 13,106 – 14.5% – during that same time period.

This data confirms what many in labor circles have been facing for months – there is indeed a tidal wave of union organizing occurring across a wide spectrum of workplaces, with much of it coming in the retail space and progressive-leaning workplaces, where workers have increasingly perceived a disconnect between the stated values of their employers and the various decisions their employers are actually making. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo commented “there is a surge in labor activity nationwide, with workers organizing and filing petitions for more union elections than they have in the last ten years.” Amid this rise in casehandling activity, the Board has at times struggled to keep pace, with General Counsel Abruzzo highlighting the “critical funding and staffing shortages” at the Board. Although it is unclear whether this jump in activity merely reflects a natural rebound from the 14% decline in casehandling intake in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Board nonetheless anticipates a continued rise in activity, as reflected in the Board’s March 23, 2022 Justification of Performance Budget for the Committee On Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023, found here. Despite the difficult situation, General Counsel Abruzzo reiterated the Board’s commitment to conducting elections and seeking expanded remedies for unfair labor practice charges.

Developments at the NLRB are likely to continue at a rapid pace, we will monitor developments in this area and provide updates when relevant.

Copyright © 2022, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 196
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About this Author

Myles Moran  NYC Labor Lawyer Sheppard Mullin
Associate

Myles Moran is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office.

Areas of Practice

Myles advises and counsels clients on day-to-day employment issues including discipline and terminations, personnel policies, employee handbooks, and wage and hour compliance issues. His practice includes defending employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour disputes.a

212-896-0644
Keahn Morris, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, San Francisco, Labor and Employment Law Attorney
Associate

Keahn N. Morris is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the San Francisco office.Keahn’s practice focuses on all areas of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on traditional labor law, high-stakes employment-related litigation, and proactive counseling of management-side clients. Recognized by Super Lawyers as a "Rising Star", Keahn was identified as a top rated labor and employment attorney in San Francisco in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. He has significant experience in all aspects of labor-management relations law, including union corporate...

415-774-2934
John Bolesta, Lawyer, Employment, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm
Special Counsel

John S. Bolesta is a Special Counsel in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office

Areas of Practice

Mr. Bolesta represents management in a wide variety of labor and employment litigation matters. He represents clients in a broad range of industries during union organizing attempts and litigation before the National Labor Relations Board, contract negotiation and labor arbitrations. Additionally, he advises clients on best practices in employee relations and the development of comprehensive labor strategies to preserve the...

202 747 3375
James Hays, Legal Specialist, management of labor and employment law
Partner

 Mr. Hays is a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group in the firm's New York office and co-chairs the firm's Traditional Labor Law Team.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Hays' practice focuses on management labor and employment law. He represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations, and all stages of the labor election process, including election campaigns and hearings before the National Labor Relations Board. He also represents clients in employment litigation in federal and state courts, as well as...

212-634-3025
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