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The National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) employment and labor relations counsel, Jay Krupin of Epstein, Becker and Green testified before the National Labor Relations Board today regarding recently proposed changes governing the length of union elections.
Krupin's testimony highlighted the adverse impact the Board's proposal will have on independent retail and wholesale grocers of all sizes. Additionally, Krupin testified that the Board is not the appropriate forum for such sweeping changes to American labor law; rather Congress must oversee such significant change to the National Labor Relations Act.
"The NLRB's proposed drastic time limitations on the campaign period before an election undercuts the goal underlying the twin pillars that uphold and give full meaning to the secret ballot -- namely the free and full exchange of information," said Krupin. "The right to free speech is meaningless if there is no time granted to speak.”
Peter J. Larkin, President and CEO of the National Grocers Association added, "This is another example of the NLRB upsetting the careful balance between labor and management that has existed for 60 years. These new proposals, along with the Labor Department's changes to the ‘Persuader’ rule, will tilt the playing field against employee's and the choices they have under the current system. The end result will be fewer jobs at a time when the nation's unemployment rate remains frustratingly high."
On June 21, 2011, the NLRB issued highly anticipated proposed amendments to its existing rules and regulations governing union elections that would radically alter 75 years of board practice. According to the N.G.A., with organized labor unable to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in the previous Congress, the Board is now changing these rules to allow for "quickie" elections that could take place between 10 and 14 days after the filing of a petition. Today, union elections take an average of 47 days and unions win over 60 percent of those elections. The anticipated result is that it will be considerably easier for unions to organize and win elections. The Board has requested public comments and testimony on these proposed amendments.
The N.G.A. represents the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry.