In an urgent letter to Congressional leadership, the AFL-CIO and its affiliated national and international unions asked Congress, in its legislation to further respond to the COVID-19 crisis, that they include funding and a directive for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to develop a system and procedures for conducting union representation elections electronically.

Citing the importance of workers’ right to organize to form unions, the letter outlines the unprecedented circumstances workers are facing due to COVID and the difficulty this pandemic has caused in holding in-person representation elections.

Further noting that many employers are using this crisis to object to holding mail ballot elections, the coalition of labor unions called on Congress to “correct a mistake in past legislation that precludes NLRB representation elections from being held electronically.”

The letter then points out that “indeed, the National Mediation Board has successfully held representation elections electronically for over a decade. The next COVID-19 response bill must include funding and direction to implement the changes needed for the NLRB to adopt an electronic representation election process.”

In late April, 168 members of Congress led by Reps. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) called for the same goal, showing broad bipartisan support in Congress.