In one of a flurry of important actions taken just before the end of Member Sharon Block's term on December 16, 2014, the NLRB has announced that it has approved the final rule overhauling representation election procedures. The NLRB voted to approve these regulations 3-2, with both Republican Board Members dissenting.
These regulations will implement the most sweeping changes to NLRB election procedures in decades. Designed to hasten the already rapid pace of the election process, under the new regulations pre-election hearings must be set to begin no later than 8 days after the representation petition is filed. By noon on the first day of the hearing, the employer must submit a written statement of position listing all prospective voters, and addressing potential legal arguments regarding unit placement and voter eligibility. For the first time, these lists must include not just employee addresses, but telephone numbers and email addresses. The regulations also eliminate the right to NLRB review of Regional Director determinations, and replace the process with a discretionary review process.
These regulations, which go into effect on April 15, 2015, will have critical implications for employers, which often are unaware of any organizing activity until a petition is filed.