In a notice (pdf) to be published today, the Department of Labor is soliciting comments on electronic voting in union officer elections. The law requires that unions elect officers based on a secret ballot vote. According to the notice, labor unions and other interested parties have requested guidance on the use of electronic voting mechanisms in union officer elections. The litany of questions on which the DOL seeks input can be found at the end of the notice.

Labor professionals should note the following points about this development:

  • First, it does not apply to union representation elections conducted by the NLRB. Instead, it applies to elections unions conduct internally to determine their officers.
  • Second, if guidance is issued, it may have an effect on the NLRB. Last year, the NLRB requested information on how it could implement electronic voting in union representation elections. If the DOL issues guidance on the issue, the NLRB may follow suit. After all, the NLRB's recent proposed rulemaking on employer notice followed DOL regulations requiring federal government contractors to do the same thing.