Bargaining Agent Certification by
Majority Sign-up


The Maine Labor Relations Board will begin implementing bargaining agent certification by Majority Sign-up, as enacted by Public Law 2019, Chapter 135, effective September 19, 2019.

A Majority Sign-up petition may be used when (1) a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining have signed valid authorizations designating the labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining agent and (2) when no other labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the bargaining agent of any of the employees in the unit.

Please use the form and information below in order to file a Majority Sign-up petition with the Board.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. What is the new Majority Sign-up law?

As of September 19, 2019, a union (employee organization) may be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for a bargaining unit of employees if the union provides to the Board a petition (MLRB Form 2C) accompanied by authorization forms from more than 50% of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit, without the need for a secret ballot election.

2. Does the Majority Sign-up law apply to all employees under Maine’s collective bargaining laws?

No. Majority Sign-up only applies to those employees covered by the Municipal Public Employees Labor Relations Law. Generally, that includes employees of towns or cities, counties or public schools.

3. Is Majority Sign-up the same thing as Written Majority Authorization or Card Check?

Yes.

4. Can a Majority Sign-up petition be used for a bargaining unit that is already represented by a union?

No. A Majority Sign-up petition is only appropriate when the unit is not currently represented.

5. Are the required employee authorization forms different from the traditional showing of interest forms?

Technically, yes. The authorization form differs from the showing of interest form in that the employee must “designate” the bargaining agent as the employee’s representative for purposes of collective bargaining. Under current Board rules, a showing of interest only requires the employee to indicate a “desire” to be represented by the bargaining agent. A union’s existing showing of interest form may already include the required authorization language to qualify as an authorization form.

6. Can a union submit a Majority Sign-up petition on behalf of a bargaining unit that has not yet been recognized?

Yes. A Majority Sign-up petition for a previously unrepresented or unrecognized bargaining unit will be implied to be a concurrent Unit Determination petition, and the submitted authorization forms may be used for the purpose of demonstrating the requisite showing of interest to establish a new bargaining unit.

7. Can an employer or other party object to a bargaining agent certification by Majority Sign-up?

Yes. If the Executive Director determines that a petition and the employee authorization is sufficient, a copy of the petition will be publicly posted and served on the employer, and the employer and any party that wishes to intervene will be given 5 days in which to file with the Board any objections to the petition or showing of interest.

8. What kind of objections can be made to a Majority Sign-up petition?

Possible objections to a Majority Sign-up petition are that one or more employees in the proposed unit are currently represented by a bargaining agent; the bargaining unit has certified or attempted to certify a bargaining agent within the prior year; the party has a good faith doubt of the sufficiency of the employee authorization submitted; or the party objects to the appropriateness of the bargaining unit.

9. Does the employer see the authorization forms signed by employees?

No. Only the Board, Board staff and the petitioning union should be able to see the employee authorization forms.

10. What happens if the Executive Director determines that the petition is sufficient and that there is a valid showing of interest from a majority of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit?

The Executive Director will certify the petitioning union as the exclusive bargaining agent for that unit of employees.

11. What happens if the Executive Director determines that the petition is sufficient but the valid showing of interest forms are from less than a majority of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit?

If the showing of interest forms are from less than a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit, but are from at least 30% of the employees, the Executive Director will commence a secret ballot election. If the valid showing of interest forms are from less than 30% of the employees, the petition will be dismissed.

12. What happens if the Executive Director determines that the petition is insufficient?

The petition will be dismissed.

13. Can the Executive Director’s decision be appealed?

A party may appeal the Executive Director’s final ruling or determination on the sufficiency of a Majority Sign-up petition, appropriateness of the affected bargaining unit or adequacy of the employee authorization by filing an appeal with the Board within 15 days of the announcement of the ruling or determination. The Executive Director’s determination as to whether the employee authorization evidence is satisfactory is subject to review only by the Board, on the basis that specific portions of the showing were obtained by collusion, coercion, forgery, intimidation, fraud or misrepresentation, or are otherwise invalid.