On April 14, 2015, the long awaited rules governing union elections went into effect. These so-called ambush election rules were delayed since they were first proposed in 2011 due to a number of legal roadblocks. If your company is being organized under the new rules, everything you knew about the process has likely changed. In fact, these are the broadest sweeping changes in union elections in half a century.

The biggest change is the time between the union filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) until the actual union election, so instead of 42 days it will now be as little as 11 days. Who benefits from this reduction? Many business groups argue that the reduction is to allow unions to gain the upper hand in winning union elections. The shortened time frame can allow unions to organize a workforce secretly for months and then spring an election on a company who has one week to respond to the union’s “ambush.”

Below are a few highlights of what employers can expect under the new rules:

Dealing with union organizing campaigns just became more difficult for employers. On April 14, 2015, the long anticipated National Labor Relations Board’s Rules governing union organizing campaigns and elections went into effect. These so-called “ambush” election rules will likely catch companies off guard when they are faced with a new union organizing campaign.  In fact,

The General Counsel’s office of the NLRB issued a memo this week setting forth its position on a variety of different matters as to the new rules and regulations regarding the election process which will be effective April 14, 2015. These are the first major changes in the election process since the 1930’s and they will be significant. Most importantly, the timeline from the point of the filing of a petition to holding an election is greatly compressed. In theory, there could be an election conducted as soon as seventeen days after the petition is filed with the Agency. Indeed, the General Counsel’s office has indicated to the Regional Offices that they expect elections to proceed (either by stipulation or post hearing) in the seventeen day to thirty day time frame. The latter number reflecting those situations in which there is a hearing held and there needs to be a ruling by the Regional office.