Most of the time, employees choose to unionize by voting in a union election.  A union election campaign is when different unions "campaign" to solicit votes among employees seeking a union. 

Can Employers Prevent a Union Election Campaign?

Almost all employers will attempt to prevent their employees from unionizing.  Employers cannot prevent a union from campaigning, but they can restrict it.  Employers can lawfully interfere with union election campaigning by:

  • Time, place, manner restrictions - An employer can limit where, when and how union organizers campaign, as long as the restrictions are reasonable.  For example, union organizers may only be allowed to campaign during lunch or break time.
  • Management campaigning - Employers can also campaign among its own employees.  An employer has advantages over union organizers because it does not need to provide equal access to union organizers. 

Are There Limits to What Management Can Do?  

Though employers have great control, their authority is not limitless.  The NLRB will carefully monitor an employer's actions and prevent an employer from acting wrongfully.  Here are a few things that employers cannot do to interfere with union election campaigns: 

  • Threats or coercion - Employers cannot threaten, intimidate, or coerce employees to reject unionization.  For example, an employer cannot threaten "if the union wins, I will shut this plant down."  Even "hidden" threats are not allowed.
  • False claims - An employer cannot make false claims.  If an employer promises to do something to sway an employee's vote, they must perform the promise. 

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

There has been a considerable amount of litigation devoted to union election campaigns.  An experienced employment lawyer can advise you of your rights, whether you are an employee or employer.  If you think that either an employer or employee's action violated union election laws, the lawyer can help you sue them in court.