As predicted in my blog on Tuesday, a majority of the current Board (Chairman Pearce and Member Becker) adopted the Chairman's proposed changes to the rules governing elections without change. Also as predicted, Member Hayes voted against the Proposal. Consequently, the details of the proposed changes contained in Tuesday's blog continue to be accurate.
Significantly, only the Proposal was adopted and a draft of the new rules has not yet been published and no implementation date has been set.
Something to watch in the draft of the new rules and future Board conduct is what the Board will do with the elimination of the 25 day wait between the direction of an election and the election. The Proposal stated that the reason for the existing rule requiring the waiting period was to permit parties whose positions on issues raised in the representation hearing sufficient time to file petitions for review. Since the Board was moving the resolution of almost all contested issues to post-election hearings, the purpose of the existing rule had been obviated. Under the changes, pre-election Board reviews would be limited to extraordinary cases only involving whether a legitimate question of representation had been raised by the union's petition.
The devil is always in the details. If the removal of the mandatory waiting period is used by the Regions to order quicky elections, the announced rationale for the change will have been a smoke-screen to hide the accomplishment of one of the Board majority's and organized labor's principal objectives, shortening the time between a petition and an election to limit or eliminate the ability of unprepared employers to mount effective counter-campaigns.
The first evidence that we may see of whether the real motive for the removal of the waiting period following the direction of an election is to bring in quicky elections will likely be an internal change in instructions to Regional Directors, reducing the outside date by when elections should be scheduled from the current 42 days.
Reasonable business prudence dictates that employers should anticipate the possibility of quicky elections and not be caught unprepared to take immediate and effective action to combat organizing attempts.