(a) The purpose of a hearing conducted under section 9(c) of the Act is to determine if a question of representation exists. A question of representation exists if a petition as described in section 9(c) of the Act has been filed concerning a unit appropriate for the purpose of collective bargaining or, in the case of a petition filed under section 9(c)(1)(A)(ii), concerning a unit in which an individual or labor organization has been certified or is being currently recognized by the employer as the bargaining representative. Disputes concerning individuals' eligibility to vote or inclusion in an appropriate unit ordinarily need not be litigated or resolved before an election is conducted. If, upon the record of the hearing, the regional director finds that a question of representation exists and there is no bar to an election, he shall direct an election to resolve the question.
(b) Hearings shall be conducted by a hearing officer and shall be open to the public unless otherwise ordered by the hearing officer. At any time, a hearing officer may be substituted for the hearing officer previously presiding. It shall be the duty of the hearing officer to inquire fully into all matters and issues necessary to obtain a full and complete record upon which the Board or the regional director may discharge their duties under section 9(c) of the Act.
(c) The hearing officer may, in his discretion, continue the hearing from day to day, or adjourn it to a later date or to a different place, by announcement thereof at the hearing or by other appropriate notice.