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Employment Blog

Electronic Signatures Expedite Union Election Petition

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich
Posted on September 9, 2015
Filed under Employment

A recent pronouncement by General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has indicated that electronic signatures will be accepted on a union election petition filed with the NLRB.  This clarification allows the union election process to be expedited to be even quicker than originally thought under the new “quickie election” rules promulgated by the National Labor Relations Board.  Under those rules, an election petition is to be processed within a very short time frame and any legal challenge to who is eligible to be included in a vote for union representation will ultimately be litigated after the election vote has been taken.  The quickie election process eliminates much of the opportunity for an employer to express its opinion about the wisdom of having a union at the company facilities.

Under this new clarification, a union can file an election petition with documentation showing that various signatures on the petition have been approved or authenticated by electronic means.  The primary focus here is for an employee to send an e-mail to the union organizer indicating various information about the individual and indicating the signature validity on an election petition filed by the union.  Employees will not be required to actually sign an election petition but rather may respond to an e-mail from the union organizer indicating agreement to sign the petition.

This initiative by the NLRB to accept electronic signatures is another step toward expediting a union election proceeding for the benefit of the union organizers.  Employers must recognize their limited opportunity to question a union election petition or to advocate against union representation at their facility.  Employers must do everything to be prepared to respond quickly to the union organizing effort at their company.