The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has voted 2-to-1 to approve Chairman Mark Pearce’s resolution to adopt a limited number of amendments to the NLRB election process.  According to the agency, the modified elections rules are intended to reduce “unnecessary pre-election litigation.”    

The six amendments grant the NLRB and its hearing officers significant latitude in deciding election issues.  They also substantially limit an employer’s ability to appeal significant pre-election and post-election issues.

Chairman Pearce and Member Craig Becker supported the amendments.  Member Brian Hayes was against them. 

It appears that the NLRB will publish a final rule, based on the modifications, and the Board will hold an official vote for formal adoption.  As the Board will lose its “quorum” when Member Becker’s term expires at the end of this calendar year, this vote must occur on or before December 31st.

Since health care employers will have significantly less time to provide employees with facts that would result in an informed choice in any NLRB election, it is more important than ever to consider a comprehensive preventive labor relations program.  We recommend that the program include potential elements such as (1) lawful employer communications about the company’s position on unions, (2) supervisory training to insure compliance with the law when having such discussions and/or during union organizing, (3) bargaining unit analyses (for example to determine who is a supervisor), and (4) legal analysis and client development of best HR practices consistent with changes in the law (such as the NLRB’s initiative relating to protected concerted activity).