A federal judge, citing Woody Allen, has ruled that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) did not meet the standard of having a quorum present when it voted 2-0 to initiate so-called "quickie" election rules for union organizing. The decision by Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia came this past Monday, May 14.

Judge Boasberg was also instrumental in putting a hold, at least temporarily, on the NLRB's mandate that virtually every employer in the United States post a National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Employee Rights Poster.

The NLRB on Dec. 16, 2011, voted 2-0, in the absence of the lone Republican member of the board, to implement new union organizing election rules that would expedite elections from about 40 days to just 16 from the request date, while also making legal challenges more difficult. It subsequently argued that since the lone Republican member of the board had previously voiced opposition to the plan, his vote against the rule counted even though he was not present to vote. The judge didn't buy it, citing Woody Allen as a source:

According to Woody Allen, 80 percent of life is just showing up.  When it comes to a quorum requirement, though, showing up is even more important than that.  Indeed, it is the only thing that matters — even when the quorum is constituted electronically.  In this case, because no quorum ever existed for the pivotal vote in question, the Court must hold the challenged rule is invalid.

The NLRB in a statement on its Web site basically said that it would abide by the court's decision, but of the 150 organizing cases that have come before the NLRB since the April 30 implemention of the new (now invalidated) rule, it said it would be up to the participants to decide which rule (pre-April 30 or afterwards) to abide by. Here are the board's exact words:

All parties involved in the 150 cases will be contacted and given the opportunity to continue processing the case from its current posture rather than re-initiating the case under the prior procedure.