Blocking Charge Rule Change Challenged by AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO, the largest association of unions in the United States, is seeking to stop the implementation of a rule that would weaken the “blocking charge” rule currently in place. The AFL-CIO has claimed that the rule was passed in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and that it was based on several factual errors that were not corrected. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which created the rule, is defending the new rule, stating that the factual errors were not material and that there was no APA violation.

A blocking charge refers to a process that allows unions to postpone or cancel an upcoming union election if they believe the election process has been interfered with by an employer’s unfair labor practices. The purpose of the blocking charge is to allow unions to protect themselves from undue external influence, particularly from an employer who can use their resources and control to interfere with union elections. However, critics of the blocking charge rule have alleged that union leaders can use a blocking charge to hold onto power indefinitely, depriving union members of the ability to change their leadership and potentially fostering corruption as a result.

The new rule, set to go into effect on July 31, would substantially change the blocking charge rule, effectively allowing a new election to go forward regardless of allegations of unfair labor practices interfering in the process. Instead, the election results would be set aside while the blocking charge is being litigated and would only go into effect once the issue is resolved or withdrawn, or if sixty days pass without an unfair labor practice complaint being issued. The AFL-CIO is arguing that the rule change should be blocked due to factual errors in the record that the NLRB never corrected, and due to elements in the final rule that were not in the proposed rule, as required under the APA. If the new rule goes forward, it could have a significant impact on unions’ ability to hold elections without outside interference from employers.

If you are looking into unionizing, or you already have a union and are in a dispute with your employer, give the Law Offices of Steven Sack a call. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer who has considerable experience in handling the many aspects of labor and employment law. To schedule a consultation with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

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