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Preparations Under Way for New Union Vote Rules Next Week

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (04/23/12) William McQuillen

The National Labor Relations Board rules that will simplify union-election procedures and reduce the time for balloting after a vote is requested by employees go into effect April 30. The rules will compress the election schedule to as few as 15 days, and employers need to be brought up to speed on the new rules because they must present arguments against collective bargaining prior to employees seeking a vote. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is waiting for a federal judge to rule on its lawsuit to block the rule, and U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) is pushing for a resolution of disapproval of the rule due to concerns that employees would be given less time to learn their rights; however, President Obama’s advisers would recommend that the resolution be vetoed.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says union membership fell to 11.8% in 2011 from 11.9% in 2010, marking the second consecutive year that membership reached a record low. However, the number of unionized workers edged up by 50,000 to 14.8 million.