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What is a Union Election, and How Can You Hold One?

A critical part of the process of unionizing is holding what is known as a union election. Without it, you cannot legally form a union in the United States, and you cannot move forward with negotiating with your employer collectively. But what exactly is a union election, and how do you go about holding one in your workplace?

Defining the Union Election

Put in simple terms, a union election is a kind of election that is held whenever a workplace either is considering unionizing for the first time. Any employee covered by the union’s representation can vote in the election, and decide whether to approve of the creation of the union or not. An election is also held whenever a union has already been organized and the union has negotiated a contract with the employer, as a union contract must be approved by the union’s members.

How an Election is Organized

To organize an election, union organizers must follow a multi-step process. It looks something like this:

  1. Labor organizers create an organizing committee for the purposes of forming a union.
  2. The organizing committee adopts an issues program, describing the points they will negotiate with their employer about.
  3. The labor organizers convince a majority of the company’s employees (or, at least, any who will be represented by the union) to sign union cards asking for the election.

Once these steps have been taken, the election can be held.

What a Union Election Looks Like

    An election to form a union looks pretty similar to any other type of election. These elections are typically secret ballot elections, meaning votes are cast anonymously, and no one has the right to force employees to disclose which way they voted. If a majority of votes are in favor of the union, then the union will be formed. If the majority of votes is against unionization, the process starts over.

What Happens After an Election

Assuming the election is successful and the labor union is formed, organizers will begin the formal process of creating the union. The union will then represent all covered employees in collective bargaining with the employer, with the goal of creating a union contract. Once a contract has been successfully negotiated and approved, it will become binding, and the employer will need to follow its terms or face potential legal ramifications for violating the terms of the union contract.

If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 40 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.

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