Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NLRB Issues Ruling That HELPS Employers ... Are You Kidding?

Nope. It's no joke. It really happened. Here's the down and dirty on this one.

On September 29, 2007, the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) issued a decision in Dana Corporation/Metaldyne Corporation, 351 NLRB No. 28, which ruled that an election bar will not be imposed after a card-based recognition unless: (1) employees in the bargaining unit receive notice of the recognition and of their right, within 45 days of the notice, to file a decertification petition or to support the filing of a petition by a rival union; and (2) 45 days pass from the date of notice without the filing of a valid petition. Further, the NLRB stated that it will process a valid election petition if it is supported by 30 percent or more of the unit employees and is filed within 45 days of the notice.

The ruling in Dana modifies the traditional recognition-bar doctrine by which a union’s majority status is irrebuttably presumed for a reasonable period after a voluntary recognition. With Dana, employees can now petition for a secret-ballot election to reverse an authorization-card recognition as long as they take prompt action to challenge the union’s majority status by filing a decertification petition or by assisting another union to file a rival petition with the NLRB. The decision is important from a practical standpoint as it provides a mechanism to quickly counter possible union improprieties in obtaining authorization cards to achieve voluntary recognition. Although organized labor is, no doubt, none too pleased with all of this, the ruling is a home run for employers.

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