December 16, 2014
Last month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took two important actions designed to make the process for forming a union fairer. On December 12, it issued a final rule that modernizes union elections by streamlining Board procedures, increasing transparency and uniformity across regions, eliminating or reducing unnecessary litigation, and allowing petitions to be filed electronically.
On December 11, the NLRB issued a decision that allows workers to use their company e-mail to discuss workplace issues, including union activity. This decision overturned a 2007 ruling by the NLRB that said workers do not have the right to use work email to communicate with each other about pay and workplace conditions. The NLRB argued that the earlier decision failed to protect the right to organize and did not adequately consider the changing patterns of industrial life.
The election rule and the e-mail decision are important steps in the ongoing fight to level the playing field for workers who want to form a union.