By Scott D. Huffstetler

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced yesterday that it is issuing proposed amendments to its rules and regulations governing union election procedures.  On its website, the NLRB reported that “[i]n substance, the proposed amendments are identical to the representation procedure changes first proposed in June of 2011."  Those of you watching this issue may recall that the Board withdrew the proposed amendments earlier in the wake of the Noel Canning decision, which held that certain NLRB recess appointments were unlawful thus invalidating decisions by the Board in place at the time.  In July 2013, however, the Senate confirmed five members to the Board. Now, having a full slate, the Board apparently feels comfortable in advancing these proposed changes once more. According to the Board, the proposed amendments would: (1) allow for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents; (2) ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process; (3) streamline pre- and post-election procedures to facilitate agreement and eliminate unnecessary litigation; (4) include telephone numbers and email addresses in voter lists to enable parties to the election to be able to communicate with voters using modern technology; and (5) consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process. According to newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and Associated Builders and Contractors are already speaking out against the proposed amendments. The critiques of the proposed amendments include they are “ambushed elections proposal[s];” the proposals delay employers’ legal challenges until after the election occurs; and the proposals would limit employers’ ability to launch timely challenges and counter union-organizing campaigns. According to the Board’s website, the proposed amendments should appear in the Federal Register today and public comment on the new rules will end April 7, 2014. To read the Board’s complete announcement, click here