National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce today released details of his proposal to amend certain election procedures in order to reduce unnecessary litigation in disputed cases. The amendments are drawn from a comprehensive overhaul of the election process proposed this summer through the federal rulemaking process.
The Chairman’s resolution will be considered and put to a vote at a public meeting of the Board set for Wednesday afternoon at 2:30. The text of the Chairman’s resolution is here, and an explanation of the amendments can be found here. The meeting will be streamed live from the Board’s website at www.nlrb.gov.
If the resolution is approved by a majority of the Board, a final rule will be drafted and circulated among the members for a subsequent vote. No final rule can issue without such approval.
Chairman Pearce issued the following statement in connection with the resolution:
“The vast majority of NLRB-supervised elections, about 90%, are held by agreement of the parties – employees, union and employer – in an average of 38 days from the filing of a petition. The amendments I propose would not affect those agreed-to elections.
Rather, the amendments would apply to the minority of elections which are held up by needless litigation and disputes which need not be resolved prior to an election. In these contested elections, employees have to wait an average of 101 days to cast a ballot. And as several employees testified at our hearing in July, that period can be disruptive and painful for all involved.
Today an election can be held up by pre-election appeals to the Board, which in the end are rarely granted and even more rarely result in a changed outcome. An election can also be delayed by raising irrelevant issues in pre-election hearings, which are intended to be quick and non-adversarial. Such unnecessary litigation wastes enormous amounts of time and resources for the parties and the agency. The amendments I propose would simply address these procedures, by 1) limiting subjects that can be raised in a pre-election hearing to those that are directly relevant to the election, and 2) postponing any election-related appeals to the Board until after the election.
I continue to believe that modernizing and streamlining the Board’s processes as originally proposed would greatly increase the efficiency of the agency in carrying out its statutory mission. However, because the Board may lose a quorum in a matter of months, I am putting forward a more limited resolution at this time. Other portions of the original rule will remain under consideration by the Board for possible future action.”