The National Labor Relations Board

The National Labor Relations Board is responsible for ensuring that the conditions in which the election and the period leading to it are free from any activity that may unduly influence employees. I believe the results of NLRB elections more precisely reflect employee desires, simply, because of its protective features – the privacy of the voting booth; the secret ballot, and governmental oversight. NLRB requires the appealing employees to gather the votes of a majority of those employees eligible to vote, not just a majority of those employees who show up to vote on election day.

NLRB election is the most common method for determining employee choice; the NLRB regulated election is, at its core, a secret ballot election. The election process appears from my experience to be administered fairly by the NLRB. The Act recognizes, however, that certain conduct by employers, unions or employees in the course of the election campaign can interfere with a fair election and prevent employees from being able to freely exercise their choice about unionization. Whether a particular election was fair is determined by the Board on a case-by-case basis.

In short, if a union has the support of a majority of the employees, it is entitled to be certified as the exclusive representative. In practice, the designation or selection of a representative by a majority of the employees is anything but straightforward: unions and employees are generally required to seek representation through a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process in which union organizers have minimal rights of access to employees while employers have rights of full participation.

I believe that employee elections regulated by NLRB are successful due to the following reasons: Employees are restricted from openly disseminating information: In elections for union representation, employers have monopoly control of media within the workplace. They can distribute anti-union information anywhere and at anytime. Employees are restricted from openly expressing their opinions: Employers are allowed to enforce a total ban on employees discussing the proposed union outside of the break room.

Subjecting employees to mandatory staff meetings and one-on-one meetings with supervisors, often with the intent of intimidating those suspected of supporting union formation. Employers have greater access to voters: Although pro-union workers and union organizers are permitted to contact workers outside of the workplace, such communication is exceedingly difficult to arrange. Employers have unilateral access to employees within the workplace, and can easily contact them at home.

While employers may freely distribute a steady stream of anti-union correspondence through the mail, pro-union workers lack access to employee address information. Employees are not protected against economic coercion: Employers and their supervisory personnel exercise considerable economic leverage over workers, including the discretion to assign and change work duties, grant raises and promotions, and control work schedules. Existing statutes prohibit explicit threats to and bribery of employees.

But this leaves ample room for employers to stop short of that threshold and still conduct activities designed to thwart union recognition. Workers are subjected to thinly-veiled threats in the form of ‘predictions’ that choosing to form a union may lead the company to close the worksite, lose business and make cutbacks. Employers are also free to make statements like “a union is a declaration of disloyalty to me personally and an affront to everything the company stands for.

” Timely Implementation of the Voters’ Will: In union representation elections workers can face infinite delays in the implementation of election results. Often times these lengthy delays is a result of employers taking full advantage of permissive election guidelines. Virtually no regulation of election spending: In union representation elections, anti-union employers have access to resources that few unions can ever hope to match, such as on-the-clock meetings, the use of company property and equipment, and converting supervisors to anti-union campaign staff.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA): This act, which created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), gives employees the right to organize and bargain collectively with their employers—in essence, it gives them the right to unionize. Significantly, it also grants legal protection on employees who try to organize their fellow workers into a union. The act ensures that employees can choose their own representatives for the purpose of collective bargaining, establishes procedures for secret-ballot elections, and defines unfair labor practices, to which both employers and unions are subject.

This law is also known as the Wagner Act. If a union is able to garner sufficient interest from a business’s employees, then it may petition the NLRB for an election by secret ballot to determine whether the work force will join the union in question. Although your refusal to recognize a union that legitimately represents a majority can lead to later charges of unfair labor practices, recognizing a union that does not represent the majority is also illegal.

When in doubt, opt for the refusal and let the NLRB conduct a secret election to determine the union’s true status. In cases where an agreement is made to hold a union election, consultants note that anti-union business owners do have certain rights to make their case to the workers in their employ, provided that they do not violate any laws. Once the NLRB-supervised election has been held, the small business owner is confronted with one of two outcomes, each of which comes with their own rare challenges.

In addition, the election does not necessarily conclude the incident; the union may apply for a nullification of the results (based on allegations of unfair labor practices, etc. ) or simply regroup and make another attempt down the line. REFERENCES: Black, John, Anne-Marie Greene, and Peter Ackers. “Size and Effectiveness: A Case Study of a Small Union. ” Industrial Relations Journal. June 1997. Chapman, Elwood N, Human Relations In Small Business. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications, 1994. Bakke E. W, Union, Management and the Public, (1967)