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Labor Law, Representation Elections, Mandatory Disclosure


For over sixty years, the National Labor Relations Board has followed the “laboratory conditions” doctrine in its regulation of representation elections. According to the doctrine, the Board must provide workers with an electoral “laboratory” in order to determine the “uninhibited desires” of the employees. Elections are vacated and conducted anew if the winning party violated the laboratory conditions. The laboratory conditions doctrine suggests an active and vigorous role for the Board in providing employees with the proper election environment. However, the Board’s regulation has largely focused on keeping out electoral impurities and has done little to make sure employees have enough information to make the most efficient decision.

In this contribution to the symposium “Whither the Board? The National Labor Relations Board at 75,” I examine how the Board could use a mandatory disclosure regime to provide information to employees when making their representation decision. The essay first examines the extent to which critical information is already disclosed through the NLRA as well as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA or Landrum-Griffin Act) and federal securities laws. The essay then outlines how the Board could pair this information with a limited scheme of information disclosure to provide a base level of election-related information to employees. The base level of disclosure will provide an informational foundation for employees in making their representation decisions.