Labor Board Elections

General Information

Prior to any election conducted by the NLRB, there will be posted at the place of your work a Notice of Election issued by the NLRB to inform you of:

  • The date, hours, and place of the election.
  • The payroll period for voter eligibility.
  • A description of the voting unit of employees
  • General rules as to conduct of elections.

There is a sample ballot on the Notice of Election, which, except for color, is a reproduction of the ballot you will receive when you vote. You should read the Notice of Election so that you will be familiar with the ballot.


The Voting Place

In the voting place will be a table, a voting booth, and a ballot box. At the table there will be observers for the union and the employer and a representative of the NLRB, each of whom will be wearing an official badge. The observers’ badges will have “Observer” on them. The NLRB representative will wear an “Agent” badge.

The Agent is in charge of the election. If you have questions, talk only with the Agent.


The Voting Procedure

  1. Go to the voting table, standing in line, if necessary.
  2. Give your name, and clock number if you have one, to the observers. The observers will find your name on the voting list and tell the Agent your name has been found. If any questions are asked, talk only with the Agent. Do not argue with the observers.
  3. After your name has been checked off, go to the Agent to obtain your ballot.
  4. Go into the vacant voting booth. Mark the ballot with one X only. Do not sign the ballot. Fold the ballot to hide the mark and leave the voting booth taking your ballot with you.
  5. Put your ballot in the ballot box yourself. Do not let anyone else touch it.
  6. Leave the polling place.

You will notice that only the Agent handled the blank ballots and only you handled your marked ballot. Once your marked ballot is in the ballot box, it becomes mixed with all other ballots in the box and cannot be identified. No one can determine how you voted.


Challenged Ballots

Questions sometimes arise about eligibility of certain persons. Any observer or the NLRB representative can challenge an individual’s right to vote. This challenge, however, must be for good cause and not for personal reasons; for example, a name may not appear on the eligibility list because of a clerical error.

If your vote is challenged, take your ballot into the booth, mark it, and fold it to keep the mark secret, and return to the voting table. The Agent will give you a challenged ballot envelope on the stub of which are written your name and clock number and the reason for the challenge. You put the ballot in the envelope. You seal the envelope, and you deposit it in the ballot box.

You will note that while your name is on the stub of the envelope, it is not on the ballot. Secrecy of your vote is maintained because if challenged ballots must be counted and if later investigation reveals challenged voters are eligible to vote, the stub containing the name and clock number of the individual voter is first torn off and discarded. All challenged ballot envelopes are then mixed together. The ballots are then removed and counted by the Board Agent. By this method, secrecy is maintained.


Rights of Employees

You are entitled to vote your free choice in a fair, honest, secret ballot election.

The National Labor Relations Board is the agency of the United States Government, with protects that right as well as other important rights guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act.

Under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, employees have the right to:

  • Self-organization
  • Form, join, or assist labor organizations
  • Bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing
  • Act together for the purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.
  • Refuse to do any or all of these things. However, the union and employer, in a State where such agreements are permitted, may enter into a lawful union-security agreement requiring employees to pay periodic dues and initiation fees. Non-members who inform the union that they object to the use of their payments for non-representational purposes may be required to pay only their share of the union’s costs of representational activities (such as collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment).

The National Labor Relations Board wants all eligible voters to be familiar with their rights under the law and wants both employers and unions to know what is expected of them when it holds an election.

When an election is held, the Board protects your right to a free choice under the law. Improper conduct, such as described on the next page, will not be permitted. We expect all parties to Board elections to cooperate fully with this Agency in maintaining basic principles of a fair election as expressed by law. The National Labor Relations Board as an agent of the United Stated Government does not endorse any choice in the elections.


Protection of Your Rights

The Board applies rules to keep its elections fair and honest. If agents of either unions or employers interfere with your right to a free, fair, and honest election, the election can be set aside by the Board. Where appropriate, the Board provides other remedies, such as reinstatement for employees fired for exercising their rights, including back pay from the party responsible for their discharge.

The following are examples of conduct which interfere with the rights of employees and may result in the setting aside of the election:

  • Threatening loss of jobs or benefits by an employer or a union.
  • Promising or granting, pay raises, or other benefits, to influence an employee’s vote by a party capable of carrying out such promises.
  • An employer firing employees to discourage or encourage union activity or a union causing them to be fired to encourage union activity.
  • Making campaign speeches to assembled groups of employees on company time within the 24-hour period before the elections.
  • Incitement by either an employer or a union of racial or religions prejudice by inflammatory appeals.
  • Threatening physical force or violence to employees by a union or an employer to influence their votes
The National Labor Relations Board
Headquarters Offices
Washington, DC 20570-0001
Field Offices in the NLRB
Oakland, CA 94612-3017
San Francisco, CA 94103-1735
Street addresses and telephone numbers are located in the telephone directory under the United States Government, National Labor Relations Board.