The fallout from the sweeping COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing. In an extraordinary move, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just announced it is suspending all union elections until at least April 3. According to the agency’s press notice:
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board today approved the suspension of all representation elections, including mail ballot elections, for the next two weeks effective immediately, through and including April 3, 2020. The Board deems this action necessary to ensure the health and safety of our employees, as well as those members of the public who are involved in the election process. Moreover, given the closure of several Regional Offices and limited operations and significant telework at others, the Board does not believe that it is possible to effectively conduct elections at this time.”
The NLRB further noted that it is continuing to evaluate circumstances and may extend this deadline. This is good news for employers, employees, and unions alike – all of whom have seen workplaces upended in the last week by recent events.
From a union avoidance standpoint, this is particularly helpful because companies often hold large group meetings with employees to express the organization’s view on unionization (which can be done under the law up until 24 hours prior to the polls opening). Given the pandemic, employers largely have been cancelling large meetings of any kind – so running an effective campaign has become increasingly difficult.
The actions by the NLRB here should help keep people safe and focused on more pressing items for now. Stay tuned for updates on this front.