The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted today, 2-1, to finalize rules that will restrict employers in their challenges to union organizing elections at their worksites. The NLRB intends to publish the Final Rule in the Federal Register tomorrow (Dec. 22, 2011).

Previously, employers could challenge–and thus delay elections–the status of supervisors (can they vote or belong to a unit?) and even the legality of the bargaining unit itself. Under the new rules, employers can challenge only those issues relevant to whether an election should even be held, and the challenges will be heard before an NLRB hearing officer, not an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Already, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed suit to block the new regulations. Barring the success of that or other lawsuits, however, the Final Rule will take effect on April 20, 2012.

As this election rules drama plays out, most employers in the U.S. already face a Jan. 31, 2012, deadline to post the new NLRA Employee Rights Poster (which you can obtain by clicking on the link), another byproduct of an activist NLRB.