The National Labor Relations Board’s public hearing regarding its new election rules designed to shorten the time-frame for the conduct of union representation elections commences tomorrow and will end on Friday. As previously noted, the proposed rule is identical to changes first proposed in June of 2011 that were ultimately invalidated by the District Court decision in Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. NLRB,  Civil Action No. 11-2262.

The Board has announced the line-up of speakers, which includes former Board members and general counsel, prominent labor attorneys, union officials and employer representatives. The two-day hearing will be webcast in its entirety at the Board’s website, and the speakers will address the following topics:

Thursday:

  • Electronic Signatures: Whether electronic signatures should be permitted to satisfy the showing of interest.
  • Scheduling of Pre-election Hearing: Whether the hearing shall begin in seven days, absent special circumstances.
  • Requirement of written statement of position: Whether the parties must submit a written statement of position.
  • Issues for litigation at the pre-election hearing: Whether and how the rules should define the types of issues that should be litigated at the pre-election hearing.
  • Concluding statements, arguments and post-hearing briefs; Direction of Election with decision to follow: Whether or how the rules should specify the standard, form, and timing for presenting concluding statements and arguments, and post-hearing briefs, regarding the pre-election hearing; and whether the rules should permit the Direction of Election to be issued before a pre-election Decision is issued, with a Decision to follow.
  • Board Review: Whether or how to amend the process for Board review of the Decision and Direction of Election; and whether or how post-election Board review procedures should be amended
  • Blocking Charges: Whether or how the rules should address “blocking charge” policy and the procedures used for placing a representation case in abeyance pending the outcome of unfair labor practice charges.

Friday:

  • Election date: Whether the standard for scheduling an election remain “as soon as practicable” or should it include a minimum or maximum time between the filing of the petition and the election. Also, do the proposed rules protect free speech interests.
  • Voter Lists: Whether or how the rules should address voter lists.
  • Specific Questions: Miscellaneous issues such as unrepresented unions and small businesses and petition bars.