In a huge victory for organized labor earlier today, the National Labor Relations Board paved the way for unions to represent workers even without holding a formal representation vote. The NLRB did this through a decision by its Democratic majority in a case involving Cemex Construction Materials Pacific LLC.
The NLRB’s Cemex Construction decision resurrected parts of a representation framework that it originally developed in 1949. The current framework will now involve the following steps:
- A union can request that an employer recognize it as the employees’ bargaining representative. A union can make this request on the basis that a majority of employees in an appropriate bargaining unit signed authorization cards.
- Once the employer receives this request, it must either: (1) recognize and bargain with the union; or (2) promptly file a petition with the NLRB seeking an election.
Importantly, if an employer files a petition seeking an election and then commits certain types of unfair labor practices, the NLRB can dispense with the election altogether and simply order the employer to recognize and bargain with the union.
The NLRB justified imposing this framework on employers by concluding that it will better enable the NLRB to deter employers from interfering with union elections.