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NLRB Solicits Stakeholders’ Opinions on Retaining Virtual Hearings as a Post-Pandemic Option

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WASHINGTON, DC – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register seeking public input on the continued use of videoconference technology post-pandemic as an option to conduct, in whole or in part, all aspects and phases of unfair labor practice and representation case hearings where appropriate. The Board is also soliciting potential amendments to its procedural rules regarding the use of videoconference technology in order to improve its effectiveness when and if that option is utilized.

The Board’s current Rules and Regulations provide for the taking of a single witness’s testimony via video in an unfair labor practice proceeding upon a showing of good cause based on compelling circumstances. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board conducted most of its hearings entirely remotely in both unfair labor practice and representation cases. Once conditions permit, the Board intends to resume conducting hearings primarily in person. But, based on the Board’s experience during the pandemic, the Board is considering whether to retain virtual hearings as an option for future use in appropriate circumstances.

Accordingly, the Board solicits responses to targeted questions addressing, among other things, stakeholders’ experiences with remote hearings during the pandemic; the benefits and/or drawbacks of using videoconference technology to conduct remote hearings; and the need for potential amendments to the Board’s rules to incorporate the use of videoconference technology to conduct remote hearings. 

Public comments are invited on all aspects of the proposed rule and should be submitted within 60 days of the Notice’s publication in the Federal Register, either electronically to regulations.gov, or by mail or hand-delivery to Roxanne Rothschild, Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board, 1015 Half Street S.E., Washington, D.C. 20570-0001. Because of precautions in place due to COVID-19, the Board recommends that comments be submitted electronically or by mail rather than by hand delivery and those who wish to hand-deliver comments must schedule an appointment.

Any person wishing to comment on any ongoing rulemaking by the National Labor Relations Board must do so in accordance with the applicable Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Communications submitted in any other manner, including by email, phone, or social media, will not be considered by the Board.

The full Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking may be found here.

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.