Union Voluntary Recognition Agreement

If an employee is dissatisfied with her working conditions, she can go to a union to ask if the union will represent the workers in her workplace. An alternative is a union that takes the initiative to launch an organizing campaign. At this point, the union invites workers to sign access cards that indicate their interest in union representation. It`s a step toward recognition. However, an access card does not require a worker to join the union and is therefore not always a means of voluntary recognition by the employer. Most trade union recognition schemes are thus put in place. Such voluntary recognition provides the parties with as much flexibility as possible and avoids the need to apply alternative, potentially complex legal recognition procedures. At this early stage after the decision, we are not sure that the NLRB`s decision to Dana Corp. will be felt by most employers. Employers are never required to accept voluntary recognition from a union and have the right to refuse a voluntary application for recognition and to compel the union to garner support for an election contest and to demonstrate its participation in a majority by secret ballot.

We rarely recommend voluntary recognition to employers on the basis of signed access cards or other supporting documentation. In our view (based on personal experience), the process of collecting signed authorization cards is inherently unreliable. As the NLRB told Dana Corp., signing an authorization card is a very public act, subject to various group constraints, to adapt or be put forward for non-compliance. The collection of signatures for authorization cards is often filled with misinformation and/or incomplete information and is regularly misused. A secret election, where individuals can express their preference for a union or not, is highly favoured. According to the National Labor Relations Act («NLRA»), a union can become, in two ways, the exclusive representative of a group of workers – the bargaining unit -: (1) by a secret ballot organized by the NLRB; or (2) by voluntary recognition – if the union provides evidence (typically signed cards indicating that workers «authorize» the union as an exclusive negotiator), that a majority of workers in the proposed bargaining unit want the union to be its sole negotiator.