On April 1, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board announced it will not extend its temporary suspension of Board-conducted elections past April 3, 2020. Instead, it will resume conducting elections beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020.
Almost two weeks ago, on March 19, 2020, the Board announced it would suspend representation elections as a result of the extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was done to ensure the safety of Board employees and members of the public. Several regional offices of the Board were closed or working with limited staffing.
While the Board did not explain how they plan to conduct elections in the short-term, and further details and guidance is certainly forthcoming, employers should anticipate Regions pressing for mail ballot elections as the rule instead of the exception, during this emergency period. At least one Region has indicated it could conduct the ballot counts via video applications.
Although elections technically will begin to be scheduled starting on April 6, 2020, many hearings related to previously filed petitions were indefinitely delayed last week. Given the rescheduling of those hearings, combined with the backlog of petitions and the varying circumstances in each Region, it is difficult to predict when the first elections will be scheduled.
As more information becomes available, Ogletree Deakins will update readers on its Traditional Labor Relations blog.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Critical information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.