On June 22, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register to propose amendments to its existing rules and regulations governing certain procedures. Among other things, the proposed rule would, if adopted, according to the NRLB:
- Allow for electronic filing of election petitions and other documents.
- Ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process.
- Standardize timeframes for parties to resolve or litigate issues before and after elections.
- Require parties to identify issues and describe evidence soon after an election petition is filed to facilitate resolution and eliminate unnecessary litigation.
- Defer litigation of most voter eligibility issues until after the election.
- Require employers to provide a final voter list in electronic form soon after the scheduling of an election, including voters’ telephone numbers and email addresses when available.
- Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process and thereby eliminate delay in holding elections currently attributable to the possibility of pre-election appeals.
- Make Board review of post-election decisions discretionary rather than mandatory.
According to the NLRB majority, the proposed rule changes are intended to “reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing.” Board member Brian Hayes dissented to the proposed rule, noting among other concerns what he believed was its heavy tilt against employers’ rights. Of note, he is the only Republican appointee to the Board; but, indeed, if one were to evaluate initial impact, it certainly appears the rule changes are intended to benefit union organizers and to hinder employer response time and ability.
Regardless of your union views, this is a proposed rule that should be of interest to you.
A public hearing is currently schedule for July 18 / 19. Comments are due to the proposed rule within 60 days of their publication in the Federal Register, so time is important if you want to comment upon them.