Election of Union Officers

Department of Labor Rules For Election of Union Officers

Title IV of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended [PDF], sets forth rules that every union must follow when conducting elections of local officers and elections of delegates to state conventions where officers will be elected.

DOL Resources for Local Election Committees

The U.S. Department of Labor has published several guides to help local election committees comply with the rules when supervising local elections:

This publication contains a step-by-step guide for conducting an election of local officers using a polling place or mailed ballots. It lists the requirements of the law, gives suggestion on compliance, and describes common mistakes that local election officials make.

This publication lists all the steps for conducting a local election in chronological order.

This publication provides recommendations to ensure that when ballots are mailed, local election officials are using the most up to date mailing list.

APWU Resources for Candidates and Election Committee Members

This two-page form satisfies the DOL requirement that candidates certify they have not been found guilty of a felony that would prohibit them from holding a union office. The form is also used for candidates to certify their acceptance of nomination and allow thier names to appear on a local ballot, and to affirm that they are in compliance with the APWU National Constitution and Bylaws.

This presentation describes all DOL election rules as well as the requirements of the APWU National Constitution and Bylaws. It also provides tips on conducting local elections. (This document is used for training during APWU “webinars.”)

Statement Concerning Postal Union Political Literature on Union Bulletin Boards

Under federal law, it is illegal to use union property to campaign for union office. This prohibition applies to using union bulletin boards, copy machines, and all other union property for campaign purposes, and it is strictly enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The APWU national Secretary-Treasurers’ office advises local election committees to not permit campaign literature to be posted on union bulletin boards. Union bulletin boards are where members who cannot attend meetings get the “word” about their union and what their representatives are doing. Since campaign literature cannot be censored, locals risk having offensive or divisive campaign material posted on their bulletin boards. Union bulletin boards should be for official union business, not as places for candidates to disparage one another.

However, if a local union decides to allow posting of political literature on its bulletin boards, it must make them available to all candidates on an equal basis. This means that all candidates for the office must be informed of the availability of the bulletin boards for campaign purposes and given a fair and equal opportunity to have their literature posted.

Sample Union and Employer Funds Prohibition Letter

Sample Union and Employer Funds Prohibition Letter [PDF]

This letter explains the details of Section 401(g) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 including restrictions of the use of union and employer funds for any type of campaign purpose. Local election chairpersons should download this letter for distribution to candidates for all the “Do’s and Don’ts” of campaigning – especially in the workplace.