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.

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