Union Recognition Alternatives to the NLRB Election
NLRB elections generally leave the door wide open for the employer to engage in endless delay tactics. Consider the list below for alternatives to NLRB elections as well as other means to organize new members.
Public Sector Election and/or Card Check
Public employers tend to be less aggressively anti-union. Community support and political leverage often are effective tools with public sector employers. In some states with a public employee relations commission, card check can be mandated with a certain level of showing of interest, thus avoiding a prolonged election process. Check out your state laws concerning this process.
Third Party Elections
Some employers can be pressured into agreeing to hold a non-NLRB secret ballot election with public officials, community groups or clergy presiding over the process. Make sure rules and procedures are clearly negotiated and committed to writing (especially a process and definition of objectionable conduct). The advantage with this type of election is that it can, if negotiated correctly, avoid lengthy delays and employer stall tactics. Try getting a neutrality agreement as part of the deal.
Card Check/Voluntary Recognition
Often a card check by a third party agreement contains a neutrality clause. Take a look at a few examples here. A whole campaign strategy needs to be developed usually to convince an employer a neutrality agreement/card check is in his/her best interest.
Organizing for Voluntary Recognition
The time honored take to the streets method of agitating until the employer begs for labor peace. The “Justice for Janitors” or “Hotel Workers Rising” campaigns provide large-scale examples of this organizing model. Smaller scale campaigns can also be effective if carried out properly.
Uniting Small Units Through a Master Agreement
Difficult but not impossible. Some Locals have trade section offices under one Master Agreement. This strategy can also work where you may have several bargaining units with one employer and it makes more sense for members to combine under one agreement.
When an existing union seeks to add a group of previously unrepresented employees to its existing unit as opposed to seeking a representation election for a separate unit. Also different than an “accretion” where a “unit clarification” process occurs absent a representation election. Go to the NLRB website for further information at www.nlrb.gov.
Accretion or Unit Clarification
Some situations are more appropriate for a “unit clarification” to be filed with the NLRB to determine whether or not accretion principles apply, thus avoiding a representation election. Go to the NLRB website for further information at www.nlrb.gov.
Take a look at where you currently represent members. Does this worksite have a group of employees who generally have varied classifications and skills and may not fit into the current bargaining unit definition, yet are unrepresented? This often occurs in the public sector. These workers may constitute a “residual unit” and you could provide the with the opportunity for representation.