New NLRB Rules: Changing Post-Election Strategy

we-wonNew Orleans One result of the proposed new NLRB election rules, if and when adopted, may require a shift in post-election strategy.

A union will know the results of the election and whether or not the challenged ballots on any unit questions affect the outcome or are aggravations waiting for hearings.  Either way this would mean that the long delays for hearings, decisions, and the potential for appeal to the Board in DC could mean lengthy waits for certification triggering collective bargaining.

Unions may now need to develop strategy and tactics for mounting post-election campaigns to try to do two things.  First to firmly establish the union as a reality in the work, regardless of the NLRB, certification, or bargaining, by electing stewards, defining issues, and taking direct actions on the job around issues and interests, clearly demonstrating concerted, protected activity.  Secondly, the union will have to apply these tactics and others to convince the employer to abandon or negotiate out the unit issues that are slated for hearings in the interest of obviating hearings and accelerating the process to bargaining.  Some of this will be standard operating procedure in settling hearing issues at the 11th hour before the hearing starts, similar to the practice now before representation hearings which are frequently delayed for last minute bargains or caucuses between the parties.

The more the union establishes itself and engages the employer on these issues in “campaign mode,” the more likelihood of a quicker and better settlement.  Too often now post-election work means withdrawing the organizing staff, bringing in the union officers or reps to begin the preparation for collective bargaining and selecting the committee members.   In the new regime with a quick election the campaign strategy should involve a “follow through campaign” of putting the pedal to the metal and pushing the employer to recognize any victory and abandon hearing and unit questions to the union’s interest PDQ…pretty damn quick.

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One thought on “New NLRB Rules: Changing Post-Election Strategy

  1. Hi Wade,Just read your blog post, and I’m afraid my response is longer than a comment.  On post-election strategy, is it safe to say that most local unions need a shift, new rules or not?  Nobody talks much about that, other than internally, but do you know any current #s on the organizing wins resulting in 1st contracts, and how long they take?  Also, I’ve seen some sad 1st contracts.  It would be good to know if anyone has a measure of whether they meet basic standards too, but I doubt unions are funding that kind of research.I like to impose a 90-day deadline from the outset of bargaining.  But if the boss delays certification, I’d like to vote that the 90-day clock start pre-certification.  Never done that before.  I think the timeline on a first contract is up to the union, unless we let the boss dictate the timing.  Not that simple, I know.  But maybe a lot of recognition strikes are part of what’s needed to get even a modest reform like EFCA though.  Arbitration in 90 days may only be acceptable if the alternative is a strike in 90 days.  There are enough ULPs in organizing campaigns to make them ULP strikes, right?  I understand, you’re suggesting setting up for post-election ULPs, too.  Is there a hole in my strategy?  Other than the fact that workers don’t want to strike?Thanks for doing the public analysis.  I like everything you said about strategy except leaving out the s-word.  Any way of acting like a union in the face of post-election delays is much better than what I’ve seen too much of, letting hard-won elections rot on the vine.  Has anyone proposed including 1st contracts in the 20%, as long as there’s a solid contract strategy with a deadline?  My guess would be yes it’s talked about, but there’s too much worry that new organizing wouldn’t happen. Did you get a chance to read my p.1?  I have more interviews set next week, which I’m going to try to do unless something pops up.  I may write something else too, as HealthBridge is threatening to lock out 1199NE unless they gut the contract. Lara

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