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How to Win Your National Labor Review Board Election and Unionize

How to Win Your National Labor Review Board Election and Unionize


Have an upcoming NLRB election? Be prepared for what's next in the unionization process with this comprehensive overview of National Labor Review Board Election guidelines. 


At this point you’ve organized your committee, campaigned, and submitted your petition containing 30% or more signatures of workers seeking representation. What’s next?

If your employer hasn’t voluntarily recognized your union by now, the National Labor Relations Board will have to conduct an election. The outcome of this election will determine your union’s role as a representative of collective bargaining.

The NLRB’s representation election process can be lengthy, and petition dismissal is possible.

In fact, each petition must be investigated by the NLRB to ensure the Board has jurisdiction, the union is qualified, and there are no existing labor contracts in effect.

After investigation there are three potential outcomes:

1. the petitioner can withdraw their petition (with approval)

2. the petition is dismissed (you may appeal), or

3. it continues through the process.

If your petition makes it past the first round, here’s a look at what to expect next:


Consent Procedures 

Consent Election Agreement

The first agreement that parties must sign is the Consent Election Agreement which waives a hearing and agrees that the Regional Director’s decision on ballots in question and election objections are final. 

Stipulated Election Agreement

The next agreement also indicates that the Regional Director is responsible for resolving any disputes that occur after the election subject to discretionary Board review.


Formal Procedures

Formal hearing

A formal hearing is conducted by a Hearing Officer who will then submit a record of hearing to the Regional Director.

Regional Director Decision

The Regional Director will then issue a decision directing the election. They can also dismiss the petition at this point.

Things to keep in mind:

If at any point your petition is dismissed by the Regional Director, you have the right to submit a Request for Review. This means that you can request the Board to review any of the Regional Director’s actions. You can also ask for a review of their decision and direction of the election with their post-election decision.

At this point, the Board will issue either a denial of request or grant the review. They will then issue their decision to either affirm, change, or reverse the Regional Directors action.


Elections Conducted by NLRB Regional Office

Conclusive results

After both consent and formal procedures, the NLRB will conduct the election. Usually the outcome of this election is based on a majority of votes cast. If that’s the case and the results are conclusive, the Regional Director will issue either a certification of results or representative.

Inconclusive results

If the ballot is challenged or grievances are filed, the Regional Director will then closely examine those objections. A hearing may be needed to resolve these issues, after which the Hearing Officer will serve parties a report detailing the recommendations made to the Regional Director. 

Consent election

A decision is made by the Regional Director to either certify the representative or the election results.

Stipulated, Board directed, or Regional Director election

If the grievances have not already been resolved by an Unfair Labor Board in front of an Administrative law-judge, then the Regional Director will either certify the representative or election results. This action is final unless a Request for Review is granted by the Board.


How to get prepared, correctly 

To cover all of your bases, don’t just prep your committee for the NLRB election process, prep for the pre-petition. In other words, set yourself up for success by ensuring you have all the right paperwork and most importantly, ample support. Here’s what you need, according to the NLRB:

  • Evidence of support and interest by fellow workers
  • Familiarize yourself with the NLRB election procedures
  • Get and complete the petition form and statement of position form
  • Serve the petition form, blank statement of position form and procedure descriptions to other parties in the petition
  • Prepare certificate of service of petition
  • File your petition, certificate of service, and evidence of interest with the NLRB



To get more information about the unionization election process, visit the NLRB’s website.

We help unions every day with many of their most challenging processes, see what we can do for you.

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