This afternoon the NLRB held a public meeting to discuss and vote on Chairman Pearce’s proposal to move forward with amending the Board rules and regulations regarding the procedures for representation elections. This meeting, timed coincidently on the same day as the vote in the House on the Workplace and Democracy Act, is one more step towards a final rule altering current procedures on representation elections.
While Chairman Pearce’s introductory remarks appear to show this meeting demonstrates a fair and open process, what should not be overlooked is this proposal, while harmless at first glance, will alter what can and cannot be heard at a pre-election hearing, what can be appealed after a pre-election hearing and shorten the time frame for elections.
What the meeting revealed is it is likely the Board will cast aside its own tradition—securing three affirmative votes when making such major changes and allowing a dissent to be published along with the rule being finalized. Both Chairman Pearce and Member Becker do not seem too concerned, however, and emphasized the traditions and practices of the Board were not statutory and the filing of a dissent only applied to adjudications and not rule making. It seems the Board can interpret their policies in the light most favorable to fit its current agenda.
One has to wonder then whether this meeting was nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to show the public the NLRB is making a good faith effort to be open and fair when considering a final rule. So while there was a vote of 2 to 1 to proceed with Chairman Pearce’s proposal – we don’t know yet, what appearance the final rule will take. There is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but the zipper is showing.