In testimony to be delivered today before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) will outline substantial objections to a proposal that will make substantial changes to union election procedures. Specifically, RILA will argue that the Board’s proposal that forces employers to provide employee contact information violates employee privacy. Further, RILA will argue 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.
Doreen S. Davis, partner at Jones Day, will testify before the NLRB on behalf of RILA.
“RILA strongly opposes the NLRB’s proposed amendments. Far from streamlining representation proceedings, the changes would merely postpone litigation of key issues,” Davis will say in her testimony.
Under consideration is an NLRB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would shorten the time frame in which elections must occur. Known as “ambush elections,” 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.
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 email addresses and home phone numbers.
According to Davis, “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. 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 full written testimony delivered at today’s hearing can be read 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.
SVP, Communications & State Affairs