In right-to-work states, employees do not need to be a member of a union to work at a unionized job. Ohio is not a right-to-work state, and most collective bargaining agreements in Ohio contain a union security clause. Union security clauses require employees to become members of a union and pay union dues if they want to work for that employer.

Since many employees in Ohio do not want to be members of a union but want to continue working their jobs, the law allows for them to deauthorize the union from requiring them to pay union dues. Employees can deauthorize their union at almost any time during the collective bargaining process, but can only decertify their union during certain times. The procedure to deauthorize a union is similar – but not identical – to a decertification or representation election.

To deauthorize a union, employees must present the National Labor Relations Board with a petition signed by at least 30% of the employees in the bargaining unit indicating their desire. Employers cannot take an active role in this process. Once the petition is filed, an election to deauthorize the union will occur a few weeks later, and a majority of the bargaining unit must vote to deauthorize the union. This is different from other elections which only require a majority of the votes cast to win. As such, it is critically important for all employees to vote in deauthorization elections.

After a successful deauthorization election, employees typically seek to decertify their union when the time is right.