The National Labor Relations Board Union (NLRBU), which represents the employees of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), wants NLRB General Counsel (GC) Peter Robb to rescind his guidelines about how to conduct representation elections in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alternative is to conduct such elections by mail ballot. Most NLRB elections during the pandemic have been conducted by mail ballot. Employers disfavor mail ballot elections. For more on the GC’s guidelines, see our blog, NLRB General Counsel Issues Guidelines for In-Person Elections During COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to Bloomberg Law, the NLRBU’s objection to the guidelines is contained in a press statement issued by NLRBU President Burt Pearlstone. Pearlstone said the GC’s protocols “will expose NLRB employees to Covid-19, particularly in the many parts of the country that are reeling from record-breaking Covid-19 numbers.”

The NLRB sought input from the NLRBU during the preparation of the guidelines. However, NLRBU representatives said the GC “refused all the significant proposals the union put forth.” The NLRB has disputed that claim.

Conventional wisdom among management labor attorneys is the guidelines likely will not result in any significant increase in in-person voting during the pandemic. The guidelines are not mandatory and NLRB Regional Directors expressly retain discretion about what method of balloting is best in each case. Further, the guidelines are the GC’s; the five-member NLRB retains the ultimate authority to approve them, in whole or in part, and to decide how its elections are to be conducted.

Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney with any questions.

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Photo of Howard M. Bloom Howard M. Bloom

Howard M. Bloom is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law representing exclusively employers for more than 36 years.

Mr. Bloom counsels clients in a variety of industries on labor law issues.

Howard M. Bloom is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law representing exclusively employers for more than 36 years.

Mr. Bloom counsels clients in a variety of industries on labor law issues. He trains and advises executives, managers and supervisors on union awareness and positive employee relations, and assists employers in connection with union card-signing efforts, traditional union representation and corporate campaigns, and union decertification campaigns. He also represents clients at the National Labor Relations Board in connection with bargaining unit issues, objections and challenges, as well as unfair labor practice investigations and trials. Mr. Bloom also has been the spokesperson at countless first and successor contract collective bargaining negotiations, and regularly advises on collective bargaining agreement administration issues, including grievance/arbitration issues.

Mr. Bloom has appeared before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, several U.S. District Courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Mr. Bloom speaks frequently to employer groups on a wide range of labor and employment law topics. He also has written extensively on labor and employment law for a variety of publications, including New England Business magazine, The Boston Globe and the Boston Business Journal. He also is editor of and a frequent contributor to the Jackson Lewis Labor & Collective Bargaining Blog.

While attending law school, he was the Executive Editor of The Advocate: the Suffolk University Law School Journal and President of the Student Bar Association.

Mr. Bloom is a diehard baseball fan. His first book, The Baseball Uncyclopedia: A Highly Opinionated Myth-Busting Guide to the Great American Game, was published in February 2006.

Photo of Jonathan J. Spitz Jonathan J. Spitz

Jonathan J. Spitz is a principal in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Labor Relations practice group.