The National Labor Relations Board adopted new rules in late December that would speed up unionization elections. The decision was a boost for labor unions, who maintain that employers intentionally drag out the election process in order to browbeat workers with anti-union messages.
The ruling was the NLRB’s last major policy decision before it dropped to just two members. The board cannot legally make decisions unless it has at least three members. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly blocked President Obama‘s nominations to fill the vacant seats.
But Obama found a way to restore the NLRB to full strength on Jan. 4, 2012 by making so-called recess appointments to the Board. Recess appointments, good for only one year, do not require Congressional approval.
The new union election rules approved by the labor board in December had been in the works for months. The new rules would reduce unnecessary delays and litigation, especially in the 10 percent of cases when employers file formal challenges to unionization votes, a move that often delays such votes by a month or more. The new rules are scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012.