Unions Win Mail-Ballot Elections 20% More Times than In-Person Elections

I recently posted about the NLRB ordering union-friendly, mail-ballot elections at an increased rate despite in-person voting being the preferred method of elections by previous NLRBs for decades.

The current NLRB may be poised to take it one step further and replace mail-ballot elections with an e-voting system.

President Obama’s NLRB, in 2010, sought solutions regarding “capacity, availability, [and] methodology” for implementing an e-voting system. Nothing happened beyond that inquiry, though. President Trump’s NLRB did not pursue e-voting. President Biden’s NLRB seems ready to pick up where Obama’s left off.

As a reminder, unions covet mail-ballot elections. They win about 20% more mail-ballot elections than in-person elections.

Covid-19 helped move the e-voting ball toward the goal line. The NLRB has long-held that in-person voting is the preferred method for determining whether employees want to be represented by a union. In-person voting became infeasible during the early stages of Covid, and a shift to mail-ballot elections became normal.

The next logical step for the Biden NLRB – which has on a near daily basis sought to make union organizing easier – is to shift to purely electronic voting and dispense mailing ballots to voters’ homes and harvesting employees’ votes.

Biden’s NLRB can easily do this through rulemaking. Once done, this should give unions an ever bigger advantage to organizing employees.

If unions win mail-ballot elections 20% more times than they win in-person elections, I am curious to see the impact e-voting will have on union organizing.


Matt Austin is a nationwide management labor lawyer. Labor laws govern virtually all private-sector employees regardless of union membership. Proactive management of labor relations is critical to maintaining flexibility and increasing profit.

Matt also runs Austin Legal’s HR Legal Compliance Program that, for a small monthly fee, ensures HR decisions are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Matt’s experience is deeply rooted in helping manage many aspects of his clients’ businesses. To effectively manage labor relations, he must also manage budgets, forecasts, new growth areas, and projected market corrections. High emotional intelligence is also critical to negotiating union contracts and to properly advise HR Legal Compliance members through the nuances of the law, its application to their companies, and how it will be received by employees.

You can reach Matt via email at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.