ATLANTA, Ga. – US poultry industry groups said in filing comments opposing the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule changes in union election procedures that they make it “almost impossible” to stage fair elections. These comments were prepared by the Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council, made up of the US Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. These three organizations combined represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation’s poultry products and employ more than 300,000 workers.

Although the current procedures result in elections held within an average of 38 days, the proposed rule changes seek to shorten the timeframe for union election campaigns and make other “unreasonable changes in the unionization process”, the comments said. More than two-dozen issues with the proposed rule, many of which carry the “unmistakable appearance of a denial of due process” and “certainly will serve to increase litigation and delay timely elections rather than speed the election process,” are identified by the poultry industry comments.

“Limiting the time period to seven days between the Notice of Hearing and the hearing presents an almost impossible sequence of events to satisfy timely, during which all parties must review the petition and attached documents, investigate the requirements and the facts, find counsel or other representatives, file technical Statements of Position upon penalty of waiver of rights to a hearing or of any appeal, prepare offers of proof, review and file appropriate voting lists,... attempt to enter into a consent or stipulated election…,” charged the Joint Council.

“The procedures allowing or requiring putting off a decision affecting less than 20 percent of the electorate will also lead to serious legal challenges, particularly since in almost every case the status of statutory supervisors or alleged supervisors is disputed,” the Joint Council added. “As a result, both the petitioner and the employer, in a typical case, will not know what to say or how to use these disputed persons, upon penalty of having the petition voided and/or the election set aside.”

There are no provisions in the National Labor Relations Act or the regulations that require “rushed” elections, although there are many provisions requiring “fair” elections, the Joint Council noted. “The proposed changes do not meet that goal,” the comments said.

The comments can be viewed on US Poultry & Egg Association's website,