The NLRB has adopted the new procedures for conducting elections proposed on November 29 as a stripped down version of the far more controversial proposal of last summer. The new procedures will go into effect on April 30, 2012.
The new election procedure does away with the 25-day period for Board review of unit decisions and the ability to suspend hearings once the region has determined that there are no major unit issues (i.e. unit issues affecting more than 20% of the voting unit). It leaves out many of the other controversial provisions related to things like initial statement of position, voter lists, 7-day hearings and the like. Clearly the focus is on the parts of the rule that gain the most days in the election process. And it still gets unions their key goal, which is to cut the average election time down substantially. The proposed rules in the resolution would still reduce election times down by about half, probably around 21 days.
The November announcement set off a flurry of speculation that Member Hayes should step down before preliminary voting and final adoption of the new procedures to deny the Board the three-member quorum it needs to issue rulings. (There is some debate on whether the Board needs a quorum to make such a large procedural change.) The House has also passed legislation to set a minimum elections period of 35 days. Senate passage is not expected.