The percentage of employees who are members of unions is at an all-time low. However, unions are still active in trying to organize employees. According to LRI Online, during the one-year period ending July 31, 2015, unions that represent employees in the auto industry were among the most active unions. The Electrical Workers Union was the second most active union after the Teamsters. The Electrical Workers Union won 62% of its elections. The Machinists Union was the third most active union, winning 69% of elections. The Auto Workers Union won 58% of its elections.
The organizing process starts with a union obtaining signatures of employees who want union representation. According to policies in place since the 1930's, employees wrote out their signatures on union authorization cards or added their signatures to a list of signatures. The union filed the signatures with the NLRB. The employer had the right to submit the employees' W-4 forms, so that the NLRB's investigator could compare the signatures on the W-4 forms with the signatures on the authorization cards. By taking this step, employers could ask the NLRB to ensure that one employee did not sign other employees' names on the authorization cards.
Now, however, the NLRB will accept electronic signatures. According to the NLRB's General Counsel's Memorandum, there must be evidence that the employee electronically signed a "document purporting to state the employee's views regarding union representation." The NLRB will find that the electronic signatures are presumptively valid. Although the General Counsel has set forth requirements which he states will ensure that the signatures are valid, nothing compares to the actual comparisons the NLRB's investigators performed. [As a former NLRB attorney, this author performed those comparisons and believes that the requirement of signatures acted as a deterrent against fraud.] One only hopes that the directors of each regional office will scrupulously implement the General Counsel's guidelines.
The latest action follows the NLRB's action earlier this year in which it enacted a series of new procedures, which allow unions quicker elections. Rather than an employer having up to 6 weeks to campaign against a union, an election may take place in 21 days! Therefore, there is even more need for every employer to implement Masuda Funai's Ever Ready Anti-Union Campaign™.