On the heels of the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rulemaking to shorten the time period between the filing of a representation petition and the holding of an election, Cornell Professor Kate Bronfenbrenner has issued a new study entitled "The Empirical Case for Streamlining the NLRB Certification Process: The Role of Date of Unfair Labor Practice Occurrence." Along with Columbia professor, Dr. Dorian Warren, Professor Bronfenbrenner has published the eight page "working paper" in support of the Board’s effort to drastically limit the pre-election campaign period.
Like the Professor’s earlier works in support of similar efforts, like the Employee Free Choice Act, the study is unabashedly partisan. As in her earlier works, "No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing." and "Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages, and Union Organizing," the Professor assumes all allegations of unfair labor practices to have actually occurred, and conflates any and all legitimate employer response to organizing with unlawful coercion and intimidation. Again, the Professor suggests here that all of the anecdotal data studied came exclusively from interviews with union organizers — yet there is no effort to discount the obvious biases likely held by this self-interested population.
No matter. This study — like those before it — is likely to be widely cited by proponents of the Board’s current effort to eliminate lawful employer speech in response to union organizing efforts. The paper’s introduction may provide a telling window into where supporters would like to see the time limits drawn:
Our analysis of Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) data from 1999-2009 found that in the last two years there has been a slight increase in the number of representation elections being held between 21-30 days after the petition. But throughout the decade there have been virtually no election dates in the first 20 days after the petition is filed. Thus, while the NLRB has made some progress in meeting their performance objectives, as former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein explains, "the problem has been that a party in any election case has the ability to undermine the expression of employee free choice by manipulating the Board procedures to create delay."
More cases being held within 21-30 days is "some progress," but bottom line — proponents of the Board’s proposed measures still consider more than 20 days to be "delay."