NLRB adopts amendments to controversial ruling

Michael Tremoglie Dec. 26, 2011, 11:13am

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The National Labor Relations Board has announced that it has adopted a final rule amending its controversial new election case procedures.

The new election procedures sparked outrage among some members of Congress. So much so, that it prompted congressional hearings and introduction of legislation to curb the power of the NLRB.

The board's majority explained Wednesday that its amendment was the least controversial part of proposed election change procedures. It was further deliberating on the parts of the proposal that caused the most debate.

According to the announcement, the rule is primarily focused on procedures followed by the NLRB in the minority of cases in which parties can not agree on issues such as whether the employees covered by the election petition are an appropriate voting group. The matter normally goes to a hearing in a regional office and the NLRB Regional Director decides the question and sets the election.

However, the rule will now require that the regional hearings will be limited to the question of whether an election should be conducted. The hearing officer will now have the authority to limit testimony to relevant issues. The officer will also determine whether or not to accept post-hearing briefs.

Also, all appeals of regional director decisions to the Board will be consolidated into a single post-election request for review. Parties can currently appeal regional director decisions to the Board at multiple stages in the process.

Two NLRB members, Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and Member Craig Becker, voted in favor of the rule in late November. But Member Brian Hayes voted against proceeding with publication of a final rule at the Nov. 30 public meeting.

"This rule is about giving all employees who have petitioned for an election the right to vote in a timely manner and without the impediment of needless litigation," Pearce said.

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