WASHINGTON — The National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday proposed a series of reforms that would speed the process of union elections, in part by deferring litigation over voter eligibility issues until after elections are held.
The proposed revisions to existing rules would shorten the time period between the filing of an election petition and the actual election by removing what the NLRB called “unnecessary delays” stemming from “old-fashioned communication technologies” and “haphazard case-processing,” as allowed by existing rules.
“One of the most important duties of the NLRB is conducting secret-ballot elections to determine whether employees want to be represented by a labor union,” Wilma B. Leibman, chairman of the NLRB, said in a statement. “Resolving representation questions quickly, fairly and accurately has been an overriding goal of American labor law for more than 75 years.”
The United Food & Commercial Workers union in a statement Tuesday said it approved of the proposed changes, saying employers have used the current lengthy timeline between petition and election to mount defenses against workers.
Other changes would allow for election petitions and notices to be filed electronically; for parties to be provided with descriptions of NLRB procedures; and to standardize pre- and post-election hearings at 7 days and 14 days following and hearing notice and ballot count, respectively (current procedures vary by region). Parties would be required to state their positions at the start of a hearing and would defer litigation in voter-eligibility issues involving less than 20% of the bargaining unit.