CLIENT UPDATE

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June 23, 2011

NLRB Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Designed to Streamline Election Process

On June 21, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Notice”) that proposes several sweeping amendments to the Board’s current rules and regulations on representation elections.  According to the Board’s announcement, “the proposed amendments are intended to reduce unnecessary litigation, streamline pre- and post-election procedures, and facilitate the use of electronic communications and document filing.”

Among a number of changes, the proposed amendments would do the following:

  • Permit election petitions, election notices, and voter lists to be transmitted electronically;
  • Defer litigation of most voter eligibility issues until after the election; and
  • Require employers to provide a final voter list in electronic form that includes telephone number and email addresses (when available), with the deadline to produce this list shortened to two work days.

The Board’s fact sheet on its proposed amendments is available online at http://www.nlrb.gov/node/525.

The Board’s Notice argues that the proposed amendments “would remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of questions concerning representation.”  However, Board Member Brian Hayes dissented from the proposed rulemaking, arguing that the Board’s current procedures are sufficient, providing an expeditious and fair resolution to parties in the vast majority of cases.  Member Hayes argued that the “principal purpose” of these changes is to “effectively eviscerate an employer’s legitimate opportunity to express its views about collective bargaining.” 

If the proposed rules become effective, employers will have less time to make their case to their employees against unionization.

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The Notice was published in the Federal Register on June 22, 2011, and the public will have 60 days to comment following publication.  We will keep you apprised of developments regarding the proposed rules.  If you should have any questions regarding the proposed rules, please contact us.