By Edwin S. Hopson
On February 26, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it will conduct a public meeting at its Washington, DC headquarters on April 10 and 11, 2014, in order for persons and organizations to express their views about recently proposed changes to the NLRB’s rules governing union representation election procedures. Additional days may be scheduled for April 8 and/or April 9, 2014, should the number of persons who wish to speak warrant it.
The proposed changes would speed up the election process, which is seen as an advantage for unions seeking to organize employers’ employees.
The changes the Board is proposing would:
■ allow for electronic filing and transmission 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;
■ streamline pre- and post-election procedures to facilitate agreement and eliminate unnecessary litigation;
■ include telephone numbers and email addresses in voter lists to enable parties to the election to be able to communicate with voters using modern technology; and
■ consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process.
These changes were previously implemented in late 2011, but the rule changes were invalidated by a Federal District Judge on the grounds they had not been adopted by a validly constituted quorum of Board Members. The NLRB’s appeal of that ruling was dismissed, pursuant to a joint stipulation, on December 9, 2013.
Persons wishing to speak are required to submit a Request to Speak, which must be received by no later than March 10, 2014, and must conform to the requirements set forth in the Notice of Meeting filed in the Federal Register. In addition, due to seating considerations, persons attending must submit a Request to Attend, that has to be received by the NLRB no later than March 31, 2014.