Clarity in Mail Ballot Elections conducted by the NLRB

Under the Peerless Plywood rule (107 NLRB 427 (1953)), an employer cannot require employees to attend a captive audience meeting in the 24 hours before an NLRB election is held.  But when does an election begin when the ballots are going by mail and will not be voted manually? 

In Guardsmark LLC, 363 NLRB No. 103 (2016), the NLRB determined that captive audience meetings cannot occur 24 hours before ballots in a mail ballot election are scheduled to be sent.  Guardsmark LLC overturned the precedent of Oregon Washington Telephone Co., 123 NLRB 339 (1959) which allowed for captive audience meetings until ballots were actually mailed. 

Now, following Guardsmark LLC, captive audience meetings are unlawful if held within the 24 hours before the ballots are scheduled to be mailed—not simply starting when ballots are mailed out.   

As a result, the Peerlees Plywood rule, prohibiting mass meetings within 24 hours of the start of an election applies to both the date of the mailing of ballots, as well as the opening of the polls in manual elections.

For further information regarding elections, please contact your labor law counsel. 

By Caren Sencer | February 26, 2016

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