Study: Union elections sped up under labor rule

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A controversial labor regulation from the Obama administration is already speeding up the process by which workers unionize, according to a new study.

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) union elections rule went into effect in April, despite intense protests from Republicans and business groups that said it would not give employers enough time to prepare.

The rule is intended to reduce the barriers for workers to organize. Democrats say it will prevent companies from needlessly delaying union elections and discouraging workers from organizing.

It seems to be having an immediate impact, according to a study from the Atlanta-based law firm Fisher & Phillips, which represents the management side in collective bargaining negotiations.

The study found that union elections are happening an average of 11 days faster since the rule went into effect. It now takes an average of 26 days to vote after a petition is filed, compared to 37 days during the same period last year.

Critics, who deride the provision as the "ambush election rule," warned that elections could take place in as little as 10 days. So far, 18 elections have occurred within two weeks since the new rules went into effect. 

However, the regulations seem to have a minimal effect on unionization.

Labor is winning 63 percent of union elections since the new rules went into effect, compared to 64 percent last year.

The number of petitions filed and elections held is practically unchanged.