Obama pro-union rule to take effect

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An Obama administration rule that speeds up the process by which employees can unionize will take effect Tuesday after Republicans last month failed to block the measure.

Under the new National Labor Relations Board rules, employees could potentially organize a union in less than two weeks, compared to the previous average of 38 days between the time a petition is filed and the election is held. 

Labor groups say this will prevent management from needlessly delaying union elections. But Republicans and business groups contend it will not give companies enough time to prepare for union elections.

"These rules are similar to the ‘hurry-up offense,’ where one side hopes to catch the other off-guard with misdirection and a hurried pace,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation. "In this case, employers will be put on constant defense and always placed at a disadvantage.”

Congressional Republicans last month passed a disapproval resolution that would rollback what they refer to as “ambush elections,” but President Obama vetoed the measure.

That paved the way for the rule to take effect. 

NLRB general counsel Richard Griffin issued a guidance memo last week, explaining what companies should do to comply with the union election rule.

The NLRB revived the union election rule in February 2014, after the original rule was struck down in federal court for procedural reasons. 

Despite intense criticism from Republicans and business groups, the NLRB finalized the union election rule in December.

A number of business groups, including the National Retail Federation, National Association of Manufacturers and Chamber of Commerce, are challenging the rule in court.

Meanwhile, the NLRB is moving ahead with the union election rule.