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The National Labor Relations Board's ("the NLRB" or "the Board") rule regarding union-representation elections that went into effect on April 30, 2012 (sometimes called the NLRB's "quickie election rule") has been blocked by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB, D.D.C., No. 11-cv-2262, 5/14/12. The new rule dramatically changed how private sector union elections and campaigns are managed, primarily by shortening the timeline for elections to occur and limiting the issues that can be litigated before an election takes place as opposed to through a post-election challenge procedure. The court's opinion determined that the NLRB lacked the legal authority to pass the rule because only two of the three then-Board members voted on its passage (Member Hayes abstained), meaning the requirement of three-member quorum was not satisfied. The court left open the possibility that the NLRB could vote again on whether to adopt the new rule, which would resolve the procedural problem it identified. For now, and pending an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, elections will return to the pre-April process. We will continue to monitor the likely appeal and provide guidance as it becomes clearer.
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