The National Labor Relations Board ("Board") yesterday proposed significant amendments to procedures in representation cases involving secret ballot elections. According to the Board, the proposed amendments are intended to “remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of questions concerning representation” and, if adopted, will streamline pre- and post-election procedures, facilitate electronic communications and document filing, and reduce unnecessary litigation. The Board seeks to simplify and standardize representation case procedures, making them more uniform across regions. Employers and unions would be required to quickly identify issues after an election petition is filed to facilitate resolution, and most voter eligibility issues would be deferred until after an election. If adopted, the amendments would consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single post-election appeals process and make Board review of most post-election disputes discretionary rather than mandatory.

As expected, the Board’s proposed rules already have been applauded by unions and heavily criticized by employers. The proposed rules are expected to increase unions’ success rate in secret ballot elections by, among other things, limiting employers’ ability to educate their workforces about unions. Public comments to the Board’s proposed rules are invited and must be submitted within sixty days. In addition, the Board intends to hold a public hearing in July regarding the proposed rules.