Friday, November 18, 2011
The NLRB just announced that it intends to have a vote on whether to finalize a "small number" of its proposed election rules. The vote is scheduled for Nov. 30 at a public meeting--but only the Board members will participate (see the announcement for more information). According to the announcement:
The Board received more than 65,000 written comments on the proposal and heard testimony from 66 speakers at a two-day hearing in July. In response to those comments, and in light of the possibility that the Board will lose a quorum at the end of the current congressional session, Board Chairman Mark Pearce will propose issuing a final rule limited to several provisions designed to reduce unnecessary litigation.
It sounds like the Board still wants to do something, but isn't willing to stir the pot completely by issuing all or most of the proposals. Of course, and perhaps as the Friday afternoon announcement shows, the Board no doubt knows that any change is likely to lead to more criticism. So, any thoughts on what changes will be finalized? Off the top of my head, some of the less controversial measures that I'd expect to see go through include electronic filing, compliance assistance, faster/more predictable hearing dates, and streamlined regulations. On my list of "maybes" is a quicker preliminary Exclesior list (although maybe more than the currently proposed two days); inclusion of email in the Exclesior list; the option of requesting a single, post-election review of all issues; and Board discretion to review post-election rulings by the Region. That leaves for my "highly doubtful" list the pre-election statement of position requirement, deferral of eligibility issues affecting less than 20% of the proposed unit to a post-election challenge, and elimination of pre-election review by the Board. But these are just guesses, so I'd be curious to see what others think.
[UPDATE: according to a BNA Daily Labor Report story things are heated at the Board, with Member Hayes complaining to a House committee about being excluded from the rulemaking process, with Chairmen Pearce calling that complaint untrue and promising a more thorough response. Hayes also complained that there is a push to get a rule out before Becker's term expired, but it's not like that's a surprise or a new tactic. Stay tuned for more.
Hat Tip: Patrick Kavanagh]