The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to remain active as the year winds down. Late last week, the NLRB approved a resolution directing the amendment of the regulations governing the representation election process. The resolution will result in a final rule being established and published in the coming months. The general theme of the amendments is to change the current procedures with the goal of "reducing unnecessary litigation in election cases." The NLRB's proposed amendments support this goal by limiting the scope of the issues during a pre-election hearing, limiting the filing of post-hearing briefs in these types of matters, and restructuring the post-hearing appeals process. For a more detailed explanation of the six proposed amendments click here.
While the amendments are directed at procedural matters, the end outcome will be to shorten the path from an election petition to an election. A shorter period between the filing of the union's petition and the election itself is a positive outcome for unions, as the shorter the time period, the more likely the union is to win a representation election. Employers should pay careful attention to efforts by the NLRB to reduce the election process time. As changes like this become law, employers will need to be more proactive in order to remain union-free. The use of various preventative measures in advance of a union organizing effort will become more critical than ever for employers in this new streamlined environment.