Court backs labor board on speedy election rule

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The D.C. District Court rejected business groups' challenge to the National Labor Relations Board's new rule speeding up union workplace organizing elections, saying the board was acting within its authority. The ruling was a big win for organized labor, which will find it easier to win workplace elections as a consequence.

"Plaintiffs' policy objections may very well be sincere and legitimately based, but in the end, this case comes down to a disagreement with choices made by the agency entrusted by Congress with broad discretion to implement the provisions of the [National Labor Relations Act] and to craft appropriate procedures," the court ruled late Wednesday.

The policy shortens the timespan from when the board approves a union's request for a workplace organizing election to when that election is held to as little as 11 days. Previously, the process often took one to two months. The board formally announced the rule in December and it went into effect April 14.

Employers often use the interim period to make the case against having a union to their workers. The rule change in effect gives them far less time to do that, in theory giving unions an edge when the workers vote. Business trade associations dubbed it the "ambush election" rule. Union leaders, who had long argued that businesses often use delaying tactics to undermine elections, applauded the rule.