September 8, 2015

NLRB E-Signature Decision Will Make It Easier For Unions To Carry Out Elections

Last Wednesday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reported National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard Griffin issued a memorandum that will allow for the collection and submission of electronic signatures for union representation petitions. During the notice and comment period for its “ambush election” rule, the NLRB asked for comments on this topic. Griffin said, based on those comments and the fact that Congress has encouraged agencies to make electronic signatures available, the NLRB will now apply standards for handwritten signatures to electronic ones. The NAM explained these provisions include:

  • The employee has electronically signed a document purporting to state the employee’s views regarding union representation;
  • The petitioner has accurately transmitted the document to the Regional Director; and
  • As is with handwritten signatures, electronic signatures will be presumed valid, unless evidence is presented questioning the signatures authenticity, which could lead to the regional director opening up an investigation.

Electronic signatures must contain the signer’s name; email, telephone number and other contact information; the language to which the signer agreed; the date the signature was submitted; and the name of the employer. Submissions with private information like Social Security Numbers and dates of birth will not be accepted. Handwritten signatures may still be submitted in addition to the e-signatures. This provision is effective immediately; NAM said it will “undoubtedly make it easier for unions to collect signatures for representation petitions.”