The NLRB’s new election rules are now in effect. Employers all over the nation are freaking out.

Don’t. Here’s what you really need to know.

What’s the latest?

The rules officially went into effect yesterday, April 30.

To mark the occasion, the NLRB’s General Counsel issued new guidance  describing in rather excruciating detail how the new process will work. The NLRB also issued a suite of FAQs. Both are helpful to see exactly what the new rules are intended to accomplish.

What’s the big deal?

In short, the rules are designed to speed up the election process. Business groups have not-so-lovingly dubbed them “quickie” or “ambush” elections.

Quicker elections typically favor unions. Unions often are able to campaign in secret for months before an employer is even aware that a unionizing effort is underway. Thus, once an election petition is filed, the union has a head start and the employer is left playing catch-up.

How fast will elections happen now?

Prior to the new rules, the NLRB had a guideline of holding elections within 42 days after a petition was filed. The new rules don’t formally change that target, but the new procedures make it possible for an election to be held within 18 days after the petition is filed — or even faster in some cases.

Any chance the rules will get blocked by the courts?

Potentially. According to some sources, one federal court plans to issue a ruling later this month that could derail the rules in their entirety.

What should employers do?

Here’s a great quote from the law firm of McGuire Woods: “Wise employers will  develop ongoing educational programs and begin them before rather than after a union election petition.”

In other words, it’s more important than ever to treat your employees with dignity and respect and LOVE. For everything you could ever want to know on how to do exactly that, please check out my latest webinar here.

Want more?

If the NLRB memo and FAQs aren’t enough for you, here’s a summary from Littler Mendelson.