Wednesday, December 21, 2011
As anticipated, the NLRB has now officially published the abbreviated set of new election rules. The rules will go in the Dec. 22 Federal Register and will become effective on April 30, 2012. From the Board's announcement:
The rule is primarily focused on procedures followed by the NLRB in the minority of cases in which parties can't agree on issues such as whether the employees covered by the election petition are an appropriate voting group. In such cases, the matter goes to a hearing in a regional office and the NLRB Regional Director decides the question and sets the election.
Going forward, the regional hearings will be expressly limited to issues relevant to the question of whether an election should be conducted. The hearing officer will have the authority to limit testimony to relevant issues, and to decide whether or not to accept post-hearing briefs.
Also, all appeals of regional director decisions to the Board will be consolidated into a single post-election request for review. Parties can currently appeal regional director decisions to the Board at multiple stages in the process.
In addition, the rule makes all Board review of Regional Directors’ decisions discretionary, leaving more final decisions in the hands of career civil servants with long experience supervising elections.