The National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel has issued comprehensive suggestions for conducting in-person elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may read the full guidelines here.
Employers permitted to engage in an in-person election, must attempt to comply with the guidelines, which suggest:
- Distributing ballots at a distance and only allowing one voter to approach the observers’ table(s) and election booth(s) at a time;
- Using easily cleaned cardboard voting booths, spaced more than six feet apart;
- Certify within 24 hours and 48 hours before the election, the number of individuals who have been in the facility in the preceding 14 days who have tested positive for COVID-19, or been directed to assume they are positive, or are awaiting test results, or have symptoms or been in direct contact with someone who had tested positive in the previous 14 days;
- Requiring that each party, party representative, and observer participating at the pre-election conference, serving as an election observer, or participating in the ballot count, certify in writing, that within the preceding 14 day they have not tested positive for COVID-19, awaiting results or had direct contact with someone who has tested positive.
- Certify within 24 hours and 48 hours before the election, that the polling area is cleaned;
- Elections must be conducted in spacious areas and include markers that allow for social distancing between Board Agents, voters, observes, and separate tables;
- Usage of plexiglass barriers between voters, Board Agents, and observers;
- Use face coverings in all phases of the election and provide disposable pencils without erasers for each voter to mark their ballot; and
- Inspect the polling area by video conference at least 24 hours prior to the election.
While these guidelines will help assist the Board and Employers in conducting in-person elections, the Regional Director (“RD”) is not required to direct in-person elections. The RD will continue to make its decision regarding the type of election to be conducted on a case by case basis by weighing numerous variables, including but not limited to, the safety of the Board Agents and participants when conducting the election, the size of the proposed bargaining unit, the location of the election, the staff required to operate the election, and the status of pandemic outbreak in the election locality.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
If you have questions about how to comply with the NLRB Guidelines or Union Elections, please contact your experts at the Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.