Generally, signatures for election petitions have to be in writing. However, this changed this week. This greatly speeds up election petitions, as well as eases up on the difficult battle that can be an election.
The General Counsel imposed additional requirements for electronic signatures. Electronic signatures must contain the signer’s name, email address or social media account, phone number, authorization language agreed to, date, and name of the employer. The signature cannot contain private identifying information like the signer’s date of birth or Social Security number. The union submitting the electronic signatures must provide a declaration attesting to the methods used to validate the signature.
The General Counsel’s guidance is effective immediately. The guidance could be viewed as another example of the Board bypassing regulatory processes to institute union-friendly procedures. The practical impact of the guidance is that unions may immediately use email and social media to gather signatures with limited review of their authenticity.
Given the Board’s recently instituted election rules and cases concerning access to employer email systems, this guidance could significantly accelerate the organizing process.