On December 12, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) adopted a final rule amending its representation case procedures—the so called “quickie election” rule. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2014 and will take effect on April 14, 2015.
The rule was not adopted unanimously by the Board. Highlighting that the final rule “will modernize the representation case process,” Board Chairman Pearce, along with members Hirozawa and Schiffer, approved the final rule. Members Miscimarra and Johnson dissented, calling the rule the “Mount Everest of regulations: massive in scale and unforgiving in its effect.”
What is clear, though, is that the final rule will substantially change the existing union election process since it will likely result in elections being held within a few weeks of the filing of a representation petition and will reduce an employer’s opportunity to litigate, prior to an election, whether employees are eligible to vote. The rule will also give unions access to employee’s names and contact information much earlier in the process, thereby increasing the likelihood that unions will win the elections. Among the rule’s key new provisions:
- Electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents is acceptable;
- Parties are now required to file a Statement of Position identifying the issues they may want to raise at the pre-election hearing. Additionally, employers will be required to provide a list of prospective voters, along with contact information, job classifications, shifts and work locations;
- Pre-election hearings will begin eight days after hearing notice is serviced and a post-election hearing 14 days after the filing of objections;
- There will be no automatic stay of an election;
- Pre-election litigation will be available only for issues necessary to determine whether it is appropriate to conduct an election.
The most likely effect of the final rule will be to significantly expedite the pre-election process. The duration of the overall election process, however, will unlikely be affected since the elimination of pre-election litigation may consequently lead to more post-election litigation.