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    Retail Industry Responds to Ambush Election Final Rule

    NGA, NRF release statements denouncing labor board’s ruling

    By Katie Martin, Progressive Grocer

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today it has adopted a final rule regarding "ambush elections," which aims to expedite the union election process, and more quickly resolve representation disputes. The rule is set to take effect April 14, 2015.

    "NGA is disappointed that the NLRB has chosen to push through their anti-employer ‘Ambush Election’ rule,” said Peter Larkin, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association (NGA). “Unfortunately, the final rule further erodes an employer's free speech rights, while limiting employees' rights to hear from both the union and their employer. Additionally NGA is concerned that requiring the release of an employee's personal email address and phone numbers will potentially expose an employee and their families to harassment. NGA will continue to work with Congress to ensure both employer and employee rights are preserved under the National Labor Relations Act." 

    The National Retail Federation further decried the move. “This is a devastating rule for employees throughout the retail industry,” said David French, SVP of government relations for NRF. “These men and women will be forced to make a decision that could drastically change their workplace environment without adequate information and time to consider the issues before them. The NLRB already conducts a vast majority of representation elections within a reasonable time frame and this rule is simply unnecessary and unfair.”

    French also stated that the NLRB was attempting to avoid public scrutiny by releasing the new ruling on a Friday so close to the year-end holidays. NRF is considering its legal and legislative strategy to fight what it considers an “erosion of employee and employer rights at the NLRB.”

    According to the NLRB, the new rule takes into account modern technology and enables the agency to more effectively administer the National Labor Relations Act by creating more transparency and more uniform procedures. The Board also states it “will be better able to fulfill its duty to protect employees’ rights by fairly, efficiently and expeditiously resolving questions of the representation.”

    The new final rule:

    • Provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;
    • Ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;
    • Eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;
    • Adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;
    • Requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting other parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and
    • Allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single appeals process.


    By Katie Martin, Progressive Grocer
    • About Katie Martin Katie Martin is the editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer Independent, in charge of the magazine’s daily operations, including visiting independent grocery stores for the Store of the Month features and working with industry experts to pass along best practices. Katie has more than 15 years of experience covering the retail food industry, previously on the bakery side with Modern Baking magazine, and enjoys covering small business owners and the joy, passion and drive they bring to their work.

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