Sorry, that's a lot of adjectives, but it'll all make sense in a second.
Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it would issue proposed changes to Representation-Case Procedures, those used for petitioning and voting on unionization. The new rules are intended to simplify the procedures, postpone litigation until after the election, and generally speed up the process.
The new rules are also old rules. You see, the NLRB tried this once before, but the rules were tossed out in court due to a procedural gaffe.
Speeding Up Unionization
The official party line from the NLRB is that the proposed changes are "aimed at modernizing processes, enhancing transparency and eliminating unnecessary litigation and delay."
How so? According to the press release, the tweaks would:
- "allow for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;"
- "ensure that employees, employers and unions receive and exchange timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;"
- "streamline pre- and post-election procedures to facilitate agreement and eliminate unnecessary litigation;"
- "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
- "consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process."
In short: online voting, emailed materials, and postponing litigation until the votes are counted.
2011 All Over Again
"I believe that the NPRM first proposed in June of 2011 continues to best frame the issues and raises the appropriate concerns for public comment," Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said.
Basically, these are substantively the same as the 2011 rules, which were pushed through by Democrats on the board, while a Republican member refused to vote. A court challenge led to a ruling that the board lacked a quorum and invalidated the rules, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Notice and Comment
Though the rules are pretty much the same, Pierce noted that the NLRB will review all new and old comments with an open mind.
"No final decisions have been made. We will review all of the comments filed in response to the original proposals, so the public will not have to duplicate its prior efforts in order to have those earlier comments considered," he stated. "Re-issuing the 2011 proposals is the most efficient and effective rulemaking process at this time."
Have any input? The full proposal was published this morning on the Federal Register's website, and is open for commenting until April 7, 2014. You can also tweet us your thoughts, but you're probably better off sending them to the NLRB itself.
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