Impact of the New NLRB Election Rules

By: Daniel M. Drewry, Drewry Simmons Vornehm, LLP

In April 2015, the NLRB issued the quickie (sometimes referred to as “ambush”) election rule, which significantly shortened the time between a filing for representation (i.e. request for a vote) and the actual representation election.  Under the new rules, elections could be held between 10-21 days of the filing of a petition – versus the median time frame of 38 days under the old rules.  Under the new rules, most Employer challenges to voter eligibility or the appropriateness of the bargaining unit can only be pursued post-election.  Opponents of the rule argued that historically the shorter the duration of time it takes to hold an election following the filing of a petition the more likely it is the union will win the election.

Early reports indicated that in the first 3 months of the rule being in effect, election filings were up and elections were held on average within 25 days of filing.  Two weeks ago, the NLRB reported that in the 9 months from April 2015 through the end of January 2016, the election time had dropped to 24 days from filing (consistent with the first 3 month results and down roughly 40% from the average duration of 38 days prior to implementation of the new rules).

Interestingly, according to the NLRB data the shortened election time has not resulted in significant gains for unions in terms of the percentage of successful union campaigns – as many predicted.  In fact, the union win percentage actually dropped from 65% to 64% over the same period.  Similarly, the data does not reflect a significant increase in the number of union petitions filed under the new rules (2,097) compared to the number filed during same 9 month period in 2014 under the old rules (2,020).

This April the quickie election rule will have been in effect for one full year.  It remains to be seen whether the metrics will reflect a substantial shift in the number or likely outcome of elections under the new rules, or simply a shorter election cycle.  For a comparison of the new procedures to the former procedures, see: