AFL-CIO Sues Trump Administration Over Union Elections Rule

March 7, 2020, 4:49 AM

The world’s largest labor group is suing to try to block a Trump administration rule likely to make it harder for unions to organize.

The AFL-CIO on Friday asked a federal district court in Washington, D.C. to shoot down a new National Labor Relations Board regulation that would revise the union election process. The rule, slated to take effect April 16, is expected to slow down union elections at private workplaces by giving employers more power to oppose the contests on legal grounds before workers go to the ballot box and after the votes are cast.

“Should it take effect, the 2019 election rule will make it more difficult for AFL-CIO unions to obtain elections, will delay those elections, will prejudice unions’ ability to campaign in those elections, will delay the counting of ballots after those elections, and will delay the certification of unions as the representative of employees,” the AFL-CIO said in the complaint. The slowdown, in turn, will “delay employers’ legal duty to bargain when a majority of employees chooses a representative to engage in bargaining in those elections,” the organization said.

The AFL-CIO says the board violated federal law by enacting the rule without going through the public notice and comment process. The NLRB has said it has the authority to make procedural changes through a more streamlined process that doesn’t allow the public to first weigh in.

The case is American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations v. National Labor Relations Board, D.D.C., No. 1:20-cv-00675, complaint 3/6/20.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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