On December 13, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) announced a series of modifications to its representation case procedures. These modifications will be published on December 18, 2019, and are scheduled to go into effect on April 16, 2020. Unlike the Obama Board’s 2014 amendments, the current Board has elected to implement these changes without notice and comment.
According to the Board, “[w]hile retaining the essentials of existing representation case procedures, these amendments modify them to permit parties additional time to comply with various pre-election requirements instituted in 2015, to clarify and reinstate some procedures that better ensure the opportunity for litigation and resolution of unit scope and voter eligibility issues prior to an election, and to make several other changes the Board deems to be appropriate policy choices that better balance the interest in the expeditious processing of questions of representation with the efficient, fair, and accurate resolution of questions of representation.”
This announcement should come as a reprieve to employers after the Obama Board’s 2014 amendments, which imposed, among other things, tight procedural deadlines on employers and sped up the scheduling of elections thereby shortening the window employers had to conduct their own campaigns regarding unionization. The most notable changes are that now, elections will not normally be scheduled before the twentieth business day after the date of the direction of an election, disputes concerning unit scope and voter eligibility will normally be litigated at the pre-election hearing and resolved by the regional director before an election is directed, and employers will have a right to file post-hearing briefs.