NLRB Issues Final Rule For Resolving Disputes In Representation Cases


February 2015


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A new rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is good news for workers, according to the head of America’s largest labor federation.


The NLRB has streamlined the process for resolving representation disputes with the new rule, published on Dec. 15 and taking effect on April 14. This final rule amends the existing representation- case procedures in an effort to simplify the process.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated, “The modest but important reforms to the representation election process will help reduce delay in the process and make it easier for workers to vote on forming a union in a timely manner. Strengthening protections for workers seeking to come together and bargain collectively is critical to workers winning much-deserved wage gains and improving their lives.”


The SIU is one of the AFL-CIO’s 56 affiliated unions, which collectively represent more than 12.5 million workers. SIU President Michael Sacco is the longest-serving member of the federation’s executive council.


The NLRB defines its role in resolving representation disputes as the following: “Representation petitions are filed by employees, unions and employers seeking to have the NLRB conduct an election to determine if employees wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining with their employer. The board will investigate these petitions to determine if an election should be conducted and will direct an election, if appropriate.


“In most instances, parties agree on the voting unit and other issues. If parties do not agree, the NLRB’s regional office holds a pre-election hearing to determine whether an election should be conducted. The NLRB’s regional office conducts the election and, if necessary, holds a post-election hearing to resolve challenges to voters’ eligibility and objections to the conduct of the election or conduct affecting the results of the election. Parties can seek board review of regional determinations made before and after the election.”


The board majority opinion was that the rule would modernize the process of administering the National Labor Relations Act, making its procedures more transparent and consistent, while also cutting down on unnecessary litigation and delay. With the passing of this rule, the board will be better able to protect employees’ rights by answering questions of representation fairly and quickly. The final rule was approved by NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and Members Kent Y. Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer. Board Members Harry I. Johnson III and Philip A. Miscimarra had dissenting views.


Chairman Pearce said, “I am heartened that the board has chosen to enact amendments that will modernize the representation case process and fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act. Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.”


According to the agency, the changes implemented by this rule include:


- Provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents; n Ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;


- Eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;


- Adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;


- Requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting other parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and


- Allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single appeals process.


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