What steps should an employer take when presented with union authorization cards?

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A union authorization card is signed by an employee to indicate the employee's desire to be represented by the union. When a union presents authorization cards to an employer, the employer may choose to voluntarily recognize the union as the bargaining representative of its employees without an election, provided that the union has signed authorization cards from more than 50 percent of employees. However, there is no obligation for an employer to recognize this card check practice, and it is argued that recognition of a union without a secret-ballot election is unreliable and susceptible to intimidation and coercion by the union.

Alternatively, an employer may refuse to recognize the card check majority and insist on a secret-ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in which employees have the opportunity to cast a confidential vote without pressure from the union or co-workers.  

During an organizing campaign, if the union obtains signed authorization cards from less than 50 percent but at least 30 percent of employees, a secret-ballot election supervised by the NLRB is required. 


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