11.30.11

Yesterday, National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce proposed a Board Resolution to move forward with certain of the earlier-proposed changes in the rules regarding union representation election procedures. According to the Board, the changes are designed to streamline the election hearing and appeal procedures and speed up the election process, a result that would effectively shorten the time period for employers to communicate with employees in representation election campaigns. Chairman Pearce has scheduled a meeting this afternoon, November 30, for the full Board -- currently consisting of two Members and the Chairman -- to vote on the Resolution.

Key aspects of the rules covered in the Resolution involve hearings and appeals at the outset of a representation case. With respect to hearings, the proposed changes will, among several things, (1) eliminate the right of parties to file briefs in contested election cases, thereby cutting between 7 to 14 days off the time between the filing of an election petition with the Board and an election, and (2) give a Board Hearing Officer power to limit issues at a hearing and allow post-hearing briefs. On the subject of appeals, the proposed changes will eliminate the right of a party to file a pre-election appeal after the post-hearing decision in a contested representation case.  Ultimately, the result of the changes would effectively mean that an election could be held less than 25 days after a petition is filed.

Right now, we believe the Board will attempt to schedule elections between 21 and 25 days after the filing of the petition. We also believe that representation issues at the representation hearing itself will be limited to the scope of the bargaining unit.

The Resolution expressly provides that "no final rule shall be published until it has been circulated among the members of the Board and approved by a majority of the Board" and that the Board will continue "to deliberate on the remainder of the amendments proposed in the [earlier-proposed rulemaking]."

Details of the Board's meeting this afternoon and further details on the Resolution and its impact on employers will be addressed in a full Constangy, Brooks & Smith Client Bulletin to be issued tomorrow. Please contact a member of Constangy's Labor Relations Group if you have any questions about these proposed changes, and how they impact your business.

This is a publication of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP. The information contained in this newsletter is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. 

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