NLRB Approves Election Rule
On November 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board approved a resolution to proceed with a limited number of amendments to the NLRB's election process. Although the NLRB had been contemplating comprehensive changes, in the end it adopted only the following six amendments:
• Bestow authority on a hearing officer to limit pre‐election hearing matters to only those issues that are "relevant" to whether an election should be held;
• Bestow authority on a hearing officer to exclude or permit briefs after a preelection hearing;
• Eliminate the parties' ability to file an appeal of the pre‐election hearing. The parties may still file an appeal after an election;
• Eliminate any ability to delay scheduling election to permit time for a preelection appeal;
• Further narrows the circumstances under which special permission to appeal tothe Board would be granted; and
• Allow the Board to deny hearing an appeal to an election.What does this mean for employers? In short, these rules afford greater discretion to hearing officers and the Board to determine whether hearings on pre‐election issues will takeplace, and what issues will actually be heard. The end result will likely be quicker elections ... which means employers must be better prepared to respond to union organizing petitions.