In comments submitted today to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Retail Industry Leaders Association strongly objected to a proposal that will make substantial changes to union election procedures. Specifically, RILA argued that the Board’s proposal that employers provide employee contact information violates employee privacy. Further, RILA argued that the proposal defers substantive bargaining unit designation decisions until after a vote, and it is at odds with another recent flawed decision in Specialty Healthcare.
“RILA strongly opposes the NLRB’s proposed amendments,” said RILA in its comments to the NLRB. “Far from streamlining representation proceedings, the changes would merely postpone litigation of key issues.”
The NLRB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “ambush elections” would shorten the time frame in which elections must occur. These changes would threaten the free speech and due process rights of employers and limit the information available to employees prior to entering the voting booth, information essential to making an informed choice.
“This proposal is the latest in a long line of actions taken by the NLRB to erode employer and employee rights,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president of government affairs at RILA. “These reinterpretations of long-standing precedent will have negative ramifications for the retail industry, the millions of Americans in its employ and consumers.”
Aside from shortening election time frames, the proposal would coerce employers into assisting union organizers. One of the NLRB changes would force employers to provide private and confidential employee information to organizers, including home addresses, email addresses and home phone numbers.
“The Board’s proposed amendments are especially troubling given the numerous examples of harassment arising under the current practice of providing organizers only with employees’ home addresses,” said RILA. “One RILA member reported that its employees have complained about home visits from five or more organizers, who insisted on speaking with them at 11:00 at night."
More than 95 percent of union elections are held within two months of the request, according to statistics released by the NLRB. Should the proposal come into effect, employee privacy would be jeopardized, employer-employee trust would be violated and employees would be prevented from hearing both sides of the issue and diminish the rights of job creators.
The comments submitted by RILA were prepared by Jones Day attorneys Doreen S. Davis and G. Roger King, and can be read in full here.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.