The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial final rule overhauling its procedures for union elections, commonly known as the “ambush” election rule, took effect April 14. Under the final rule, the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place will be dramatically reduced from the current average of 38 days. The shortened time period for union elections will place a premium on employers’ rapid response to union organizing activity. 

The NLRB, unions and Democrats who back the revisions say the new rules are meant to curb misconduct by companies that seek to lengthen the election process as a means of threatening and intimidating employees. However, business groups argue the new rules would interfere with the privacy rights of workers and employers, and that the compressed timeline between a petition and a vote will limit employers’ ability to explain the pros and cons of union representation before an election. 

On March 31, President Obama vetoed Congress’ joint resolution that sought to overturn the final rule. Two legal challenges were initiated in January—one by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in federal court in the District of Columbia, and another by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Texas and other plaintiffs—both of which are pending.