The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) announced yesterday that all currently scheduled representation elections – including vote-by-mail elections—have been postponed until at least April 3, 2020 because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Here is what the NLRB had to say:
Due to the extraordinary circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board today approved the suspension of all representation elections, including mail ballot elections, for the next two weeks effective immediately, through and including April 3, 2020.
The Board deems this action necessary to ensure the health and safety of our employees, as well as those members of the public who are involved in the election process. Moreover, given the closure of several Regional Offices and limited operations and significant telework at others, the Board does not believe that it is possible to effectively conduct elections at this time.
The Board will continue to monitor this evolving situation and determine whether additional extension of this suspension may be necessary.
As the last sentence of the announcement indicates, it is not yet clear whether the NLRB will be in position to reschedule elections as we get closer to April 3. If the postponement lasts into mid-April, one interesting question is which version of the NLRB’s election rules will apply: the existing Obama NLRB era “quickie election” rules or the new Trump NLRB election rules that replace them effective April 16, 2020. Our best guess is that the “quickie election” rules will apply to elections that were petitioned for before the new rules go into effect even if the actual voting takes place after April 16, but we’ll have to wait and see to be sure.