The NLRB's new rules designed to speed up union election cases were recently upheld by a district court judge from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Judge Robert L. Pitman rejected the challenge to the new rules, which was filed by a collection of Texas business groups.
The new rules became effective in April of this year. They were designed to modernize the NLRB's old processes and eliminate unneeded litigation and delay in union election cases. Among other changes, the rules:
- Shorten the deadline for the employer to produce a voter eligibility list;
- Shorten the deadline for conducting a hearing on any legal issues to a reasonable seven days after the Notice of Hearing is issued; and
- Require that employee e-mail addresses and phone numbers be disclosed and electronically transmitted to the Union to permit more efficient communication.
The business groups challenged 10 different aspects of the new election rule. They argued it should be invalidated because it invaded employees privacy, exceed the board's authority by restricting employers' ability to litigate, was arbitrary and capricious, etc. Basically the full-on, kitchen sink attack.
The attack failed. District Judge Robert Pitman rejected each of these arguments, citing repeatedly to the great deference that must be accorded to government agencies, as well as the flexibility and discretion that the NLRB had to make exceptions if the rules proved too burdensome in any particular instance.
The rules are being litigated in other venues as well and Judge Pitman's decision will undoubtedly be appealed.