That was fast: Court voids NLRB "quickie" union-election rules

May 15, 2012
By Eric B. Meyer on May 15, 2012 7:00 AM | | Comments

smokinmask.jpgThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hot! 

How hot is the Chamber? Hotter than Paris Hilton humming an 80's Buster Poindexter tune. (Actually, she abandoned her trademark exclamation "That's Hot!" for "That's Huge!").

Maybe not quite Josh Hamilton hot. But, way hotter than the mature offspring of an encounter involving Zac Efron traveling back in time to impregnate an early-90s Cindy Crawford. I would not want to stand next to the Chamber's fire right now. Sammmmmokin'!

I teased it two weeks ago, the day after the NLRB's election rules took effect, when I posted that the new rules may get derailed. Well, sho-nuf, that's what happened yesterday as a DC federal court ruled (here) that the National Labor Relations Board lacked authority to implement its new "quickie" election rules. (This on the heels of the Chamber winning an injunction against the NLRB's union-rights poster requirement).

And why did the NLRB lack authority to implement these rules? The DC court explains by citing Woody Allen:

According to Woody Allen, eighty percent of life is just showing up. When it comes to satisfying a quorum requirement, though, showing up is even more important than that. Indeed, it is the only thing that matters - even when the quorum is constituted electronically. In this case, because no quorum ever existed for the pivotal vote in question, the Court must hold that the challenged rule is invalid.

Put simply, it takes three Board members for the Board to do business. So says the U.S. Supreme Court in New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB. As to the new election rules, the DC court recognized that the Board only had two members participating in approving a final version of the rule. So, those rules don't count.

Expect this decision to be appealed. In the meantime, the new quickie election rules get tabled.

UPDATE (5/15/12; 3:21 PM): The NLRB has just announced that it has suspended implementation of "quickie" election rules based on the court's ruling.